Nottingham Harmonic Choir

Walton Belshazzar's Feast

Grieg Piano concerto

Elgar In the South

The Hallé Orchestra

nottingham classics

Saturday 27th May 2017 7:30pm

Further information on Belshazzar's Feast

Summer Concert

Rütti Requiem

Finzi Lo the Full Final Sacrifice
Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs
Elgar Serenade For Strings

Southern Sinfonia
Conductor Richard Laing
Soprano April Fredrick
Baritone Angus McPhee
Organ Simon Hogan

Saturday 11th May 2013 7.30pm
Southwell Minster

No official review, but this was an amazing concert

The first half of the concert was familiar to most in the audience and was lovely, as expected, with Finzi, Elgar and Vaughan Williams music floating effortlessly around the stone columns of the Minster. Angus McPhee performed with rich expressive power in the Five Mystical Songs.

At the beginning of the second half the orchestra and choir arrived on stage, Richard Laing took his post. The lights which had been up during the interval were dimmed and the Nave was plunged into the fading natural light - still just filtering in through the huge west window. All was perfectly still.

Through the gloom a single voice began to float from somewhere unseen, intoning the opening words of the Requiem, to a hauntingly beautiful melody. The voice, completely unaccompanied, gradually became louder as the soprano soloist, April Fredrick, walked slowly from beneath the tower and took her place, still singing, in front of the orchestra.

The choir joined the melody, in hushed tones, still completely unaccompanied, as the mellifluous setting of the Introit's prayer for light perpetual to shine on the departed, continued rising and falling in volume and progressing through different keys to its peaceful conclusion.

The vibrant tones of a solo cello repeated fragments of the earlier melody then moved forward into the next movement. The orchestral sound slowly increased in volume and complexity until the choir entered with the syncopated and impassioned setting of the Kyrie (a plea for mercy).

To do full justice to the work, many paragraphs would be written - there simply is not space here. It is a wonderfully moving work, with the music eloquently mirroring the meaning of the words. Rütti makes inventive use of physical space, rhythm and harmony. In the setting of Southwell Minster the performance was absolutely staggering.

The Requiem ends much as it begins, the choir having dimmed to a mere murmur, followed by the Soprano's solo voice slowly vanishing into the distance. As Rütti explained - we enter and leave this world alone - dust to dust, ashes to ashes.

The awed stillness at the end of the performance, before the applause erupted, indicated that had the performance been repeated on the Sunday, many would have returned to hear the work for a second time and would have coerced friends and neighbours to join them.

Rütti Requiem

Carl R�tti is a Swiss composer, specialising in choral and liturgical music. His work is characteristically filled with soaring melodies, exuberant rhythms and lush harmonies. Inspired by the English choral tradition, as well as by jazz and blues, his music has been performed across England and America, including at the BBC Proms and the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King�s College, Cambridge. The Rütti Requiem was commissioned by the Bach Choir in 2005 and was first recorded in 2008 with the Southern Sinfonia. It exemplifies the harmonic invention and expressive power that makes his music unmatched in contemporary choral repertoire. It is a beautifully haunting work, with a virtuosic organ part, in a totally new style and very well worth hearing. The acoustics of Southwell Minster will be ideal for this work.

Elgar Serenade For Strings

This was one of Elgar's earliest works, and the first one with which he was reputed to have been reasonably satisfied, and which gained general popularity. Elgar was himself a string player and teacher. His skill at understanding and weaving the instruments together is clear. It is still probably his most frequently played work, so should be familiar to many from hearing it on classical music channels.

Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs

This needs very little introduction as it is frequently performed and justifiably well-loved part of choral repertoire. It is particularly appropriate for the season around Easter. It is a setting of five poems by George Herbert for Baritone and choir: Easter (Rise heart Thy Lord is risen...), I got me flowers, Love bade me welcome, The Call and finally a rousing setting of Let all the World in every corner sing.

Finzi Lo the Full Final Sacrifice

This may be less familiar, but again is appropriate for Easter and should work well in Southwell Minster. It was commissioned by Rev. Walter Hussey for an anniversary celebration of the consecration of St Matthew's Church in Northampton. The music divides into diverse styles with settings of different stanzas of Finzi's chosen poems - some, homophonic, some fugal, some definitively polyphonic with parts weaving and floating effortlessly around each other.

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