North Yorkshire Chorus presented a
well-balanced and inspirational programme of music to celebrate the
jubilee of the Queen’s coronation.
The concert included several well known and rousing fixtures in coronation services, including Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Walton’s Orb & Sceptre. The chorus chose as opening pieces Parry’s I Was Glad and Stanford’s Te Deum Laudamus which were both performed at the coronation of Edward VII.
Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens provided a contrasting and more contemplative work which was used as part of the wedding service for Prince William & Kate Middleton two years ago. Unfortunately, the organ accompaniment was too dominant so that the words of Milton’s poem used in this setting were largely lost.
In contrast, the choir’s accompanist, Andrew Christer, provided sympathetic support for the Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan Williams. These were sung by Dominic Barberi, bass soloist, with much feeling and exemplary diction.
The chorus was joined by Dominic Barberi, Stephen Newlove (tenor), Nicola Unwin (mezzo-soprano) and Rowan Pierce (soprano) for the Coronation Mass in C major by Mozart. Rowan is studying at the Royal College of Music where she won a prestigious prize earlier this year. Her parts in the Kyrie & Agnus Dei sections were particularly well received.
At the end of a grey, dismal day, the audience was uplifted by this concert ably led by the energetic and focussed leadership of Greg Smith, principal conductor and chorus director of North Yorkshire Chorus.
The Chorus’s next concert on 23 November in Northallerton will commemorate the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten.
(An edited version of this review appeared in the Darlington and Stockton Times on 7 June 2013)