Choir singing in Royal Hall - click for larger view
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2016-2017 Concert Season

Harrogate Choral Society (HCS) warmly welcomes you to its 2016-2017 Season...and what an exciting Season we have in store!

We launch our new concert programme on 15 October 2016 in The Royal Hall, Harrogate, with an evening of popular choral classics. Two weeks later, on 29 October 2016, we travel to Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire, to perform popular choral classics in the beautiful and atmospheric Cellarium of the Abbey. On 10 December 2016 we return to The Royal Hall, Harrogate, where we will be joined by the acclaimed Manchester Camerata and a wealth of talented soloists for our popular annual performance of Handel's Messiah. We will be joining forces with Harrogate Symphony Orchestra, children from local primary schools and the Halcyon Youth Choir for the Harrogate Christmas Concert on 17 December 2016 in the Harrogate International Centre. On 25 February 2017 we return to The Royal Hall, Harrogate, for our performance of Orff's exciting Carmina Burana and Chilcott's A Little Jazz Mass. Our Season rounds off on 13 May 2017 with Walton's Belshazzar's Feast and Poulenc's Gloria in The Royal Hall, Harrogate.

Why not enter the dates of our concerts into your diary now?

Thank you for your past support. We look forward to welcoming you to one of our performances this season.

Saturday 15 October 2016, 7.30pm
The Royal Hall, Harrogate
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Popular Choral Classics

Sarah Fox Soprano
The Amici Ensemble
Andrew Padmore Conductor

Choral Classics flyer

"...the audience were treated to a broad selection of choral classics. Following Britten's arrangement of the National Anthem, the choir sang Handel's Zadok the Priest with remarkable enthusiasm, the semiquaver passages being delivered with good clarity. Rutter's I will sing with the Spirit provided a pleasant contrast and was sung with nicely shaped phrases and sensitive dynamics...Andrew Padmore coaxed every ounce of tone, at small dynamic, from his singers, especially in the unaccompanied items, Bruckner's Locus Iste and Stainer's God so loved the world...a big Thank You must go to Andrew Padmore for a splendid evening of entertainment."
Full review »

Saturday 29 October 2016, 7.00pm
Cellarium, Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire
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Popular Choral Classics

Andrew Padmore Conductor

The title describes this concert! All the popular works that you love to hear. From Zadok the Priest to Jeusalem with some Rutter; some Parry - I Was Glad and Blest Pair of Sirens; and everything else you can think of in-between. It will be a wonderful evening of glorious choral singing in the beautiful setting of the Cellarium, Fountains Abbey.

Saturday 10 December 2016 7.30pm
The Royal Hall, Harrogate
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Handel Messiah

Sarah Power Soprano
Hannah Mason Mezzo Soprano
Andrew Gavin Tenor
Andrew Mahon Bass
Manchester Camerata Orchestra
Andrew Padmore Conductor

Handel Messiah flyer

"Andrew Padmore had prepared The Choral Society to the highest of standards and they repaid by producing some of the most exciting singing the Society has produced in many months whilst the Manchester Camerata, led with dynamic authority, played with grace, beauty and an extremely high standard of musicianship in all departments. This was a very good Messiah and we must thank Andrew Padmore and his performers for a wonderful performance of this marvellous and enduring work"
Full review »

Saturday 17 December 2016, 6.00pm
Harrogate International Centre
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The Harrogate Christmas Concert

Harrogate Symphony Orchestra
Harrogate Choral Society
Children from local primary schools

Harrogate Christmas Concert flyer

A review of this concert can be found here.

Saturday 25 February 2017, 7.30pm
The Royal Hall, Harrogate
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Orff Carmina Burana &
Chilcott A Little Jazz Mass

Pianists Beryl Pankhurst & Niklas Oldemeier
BackBeat Percussion
Andrew Padmore Conductor

Orff and Chilcott Concert flyer

A concert of two contrasting but equally exciting halves awaits you at The Royal Hall. Harrogate Choral Society will be joined by pianists Beryl Pankhurst (our own accompanist) and Niklas Oldemeier; and a choir of youngsters from Belmont Grosvenor school and the Halcyon Singers and BackBeat Percussion along with Samantha Hay (Soprano), Stuart Laing (Tenor) and Alex Ashworth (Baritone).

The first half opens with Vie Lieblich Sind from Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms with the original two piano accompaniment, followed by pianist Niklas Oldemeir playing Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. This peaceful half of the concert will conclude with Bob Chilcott's Little Jazz Mass which is a modern, highly original and effective concert setting of the Latin Missa brevis in which the various movements embrace a variety of jazz styles. There is a characterful piano and percussion accompaniment.

By contrast the second half of the concert - comprising Orff's Carmina Burana is choral tour de force. Music and words work together to produce an overwhelming theatrical effect within a framework appealing to Destiny (O Fortuna!). Carmina Burana literally translates as "songs of Beuren". The manuscript is comprised of pieces by 12th and 13th century wandering students, written variously in Latin, Middle High German and Old French. It is full of life and vitality, anger, splendidly earthy desires, revolt against the rigidity of medieval times, parody and lusty enjoyment of life.

Pianos provided by
Shackeford Pianos Web Banner

Saturday 13 May 2017, 7.30pm
The Royal Hall, Harrogate
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Walton Belshazzar's Feast &
Poulenc Gloria

Sarah Power Soprano
Ashley Riches Bass Baritone
The Amici Ensemble
Andrew Padmore Conductor

Poulenc & Walton Concert flyer

In the story of Belshazzar's Feast, the Jews are in exile in Babylon. A feast takes place at which Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, commits sacrilege by using the Jews' sacred vessels to praise the heathen gods. Suddenly a mysterious hand appears and begins writing on the palace wall 'Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin' which translates roughly as 'You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting, your kingdom will be divided. This of course terrifies Balshazzar and later that night he is slain, his kingdom falls and the people are once again free. With the hauntingly dramatic bass solo telling of Belshazzar's hallucinations and ensuing death, to epic choruses depicting the fall of Babylon, this choral masterpiece is a work of epic proportions.

Belshazzar's Feast was first performed at the Leeds Festival on 8 October 1931 by the Leeds Festival Chorus, conducted by Malcolm Sargent. Although relatively short in duration, it was originally scored for baritone soloist, gargantuan mixed choir, immense orchestra and two off-stage brass bands. But it is more than just loud: it treats a great subject - hubris and nemesis - with strength and sensitivity. It was instantly acclaimed at its premiere and has remained a staple of the choral repertoire ever since. But most importantly it is tremendously exciting and even deeply affecting. In the Royal Hall there isn't quite enough room for a full accompaniment but we will be fitting as many of the Amici Ensemble as we can, including many brass players, and our Bass soloist will be Ashley Riches.

By contrast music lovers are accustomed to think of Francis Poulenc as a good-humored composer and this shines through all his music however solemn the text might be. Thus his Gloria is largely ebullient rather than merely pious. Speaking of the second movement he is quoted as saying "I was simply thinking, in writing it, of the Gozzoli frescoes in which the angels stick out their tongues; I was thinking also of the serious Benedictines whom I saw playing soccer one day." In fact one of his friends said of him 'There is in him something of the monk and the street urchin.' The Gloria brilliantly expresses these characteristics, with its captivating mixture of solemnity and mischievous exuberance.

Harrogate Choral Society will be joined by Soprano Sarah Power for this performance.