Darlington & Stockton Times
This review appeared in the Darlington and Stockton Times on
17 December 2010.   It is reproduced here with permission.
Copyright   Newsquest (North East) Ltd, 2010

Messiah
All Saints' Church, Northallerton

Both the website for the North Yorkshire Chorus and the notice board outside the church defiantly announced that this concert would go ahead despite the weather.

This was welcome news to those who braved the icy conditions - and fog on the way home - but, as happened at a concert two years ago, almost half the choir could not make it from their homes in the Dales and elsewhere.

Despite this, and a rather chilly church, the 40-odd members of the choir who did make it, plus the Mowbray Orchestra, four soloists and conductor, Greg Smith, gave a remarkably good performance.

A bright, buoyant overture was the perfect start, cheering one immediately despite the cold and, in spite of reduced numbers, the choir generally sounded in good voice and well-balanced in the opening chorus And the glory of the Lord.

The soloists, all with local connections and at early stages in their careers, were well-balanced, with particularly memorable performances from soprano Penelope Appleyard on Rejoice greatly and I know that my Redeemer liveth, her cousin Lucy Appleyard (contralto) on a touching He shall feed his flock, and tenor Campbell Russell in his several arias in Part II.

Perhaps most impressive was Hartlepool baritone Dominic Barberi, whose deep, full voice was particularly striking on Thus saith the Lord, a beautifully resonant The people that walked in darkness and a strong The trumpet shall sound.

The choir seemed even better after the interval, with a confident performance of Behold the Lord and a delicate introduction to He was despised.

All we like sheep contained some finely controlled shading, Their sound is gone out was suitably lusty, and the thrilling finale Worthy is the Lamb that was slain made one wonder what it would have been like with their full complement.

The foundation for all this was the sterling performance by the Mowbray Orchestra, in both fine ensemble work and solos, all effectively conducted by Greg Smith.

The next concert, featuring Puccini's Messa di Gloria and Rossini's Stabat Mater, is at St Mary's Church, Thirsk, on May 22.

Peter Bevan

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