Choir singing in Royal Hall
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Harrogate
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Review

All Things Bright and Beautiful
Works by John Rutter & Andrew Carter

Harrogate Choral Society with Harrogate Ladies College Gallery Choir & Amici Ensemble

The Royal Hall, Harrogate, 27 June 2015

Carter and Rutter flyer

An enjoyable evening of choral singing

Harrogate Choral Society gave an imaginatively designed concert of music by two British choral composers, John Rutter and Andrew Carter last weekend. The Choral Society, under director Dr Andrew Padmore, was joined by the Gallery Choir from Harrogate Ladies College, and the Amici Ensemble.

The programme opened with Rutter's beautifully crafted version of All things bright and beautiful. The young fresh voices of the Gallery Choir, prepared by their Director of Music, Kate Morgan opened the singing, blending delightfully with the richer tones of the larger choir. The polished and sensitive playing of the Amici Ensemble added to the richness of the sound.

This was followed by For the beauty of the earth. The choir sounds were beautiful in this piece, the sopranos particularly soaring in the descant passages with ease of tone. Look at the World written for children's voices was sung in its full choral version but surprisingly without the children's choir.

The exchanges between the men and the women were well handled and the a cappella chorus was beautifully in tune.

The first half ended with the canticle the Magnificat by Andrew Carter and it was good to see him in the audience for this performance. This is a sensitive setting of Latin texts interspersed with settings of the Beatitudes for young voices. Particularly beautiful was the haunting singing in the 'Et misericordia'. Occasional rhythmic and intonation problems did not detract from the sincerity of the singing.

The Gallery Choir's singing of the Beatitudes was exquisite. The rousing finale of the 'Gloria' concluded a successful first half. John Rutter's setting of the 'Magnificat' was sung in the second half. Here, the choir sang with confidence from the start and there were some beautiful ensemble moments. The Amici Ensemble added intensity to the sound. The second movement Of a Rose, A lovely Rose gave the audience the chance to hear the choir's male voices. We were treated to some exquisite singing by the soprano soloist Katy Kelly in 'Et Misericordia'. 'Fecit potentiam' was a tour de force. Katy Kelly again shone in the gently moving 'Esurientes'. The Gallery Choir returned to perform Rutter's 'The Lord bless you and keep you' alongside the Choral Society as an encore. A lovely conclusion to a successful and enjoyable evening of choral singing.