Spring Concert Review

We hope you enjoyed our Spring Concert. Below is our review, parts of which were published in the Arbroath Herald. Enjoy!

The Arbroath Choral Society

Spring Concert April 24th 2016

The 2016 Spring Concert opened with works composed by Karl Jenkins, the most performed composer in the world according to a 2012 poll. His musical career began playing the obo in the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. He went on to study music at Cardiff University before undertaking post graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music. Best known as a jazz musician in the early 70s he was co-founder of the jazz-rock band Soft Machine in 1972. He subsequently turned to classical composing in the 1980s

The concert got off to an exciting start with Jubilate Deo, a joyful and rhythmic bouncing piece giving us a prelude of the choir and orchestra in full voice, ending with a jubilant Amen!

This was followed by Adiemus, the composer’s first classical piece Songs of Sanctuary that topped the 1995 classical album charts. Adiemus became very popular when it was used in a Delta Airline commercial. This is an atmospheric piece featuring recorder and throbbing percussion and we began to understand the quality which choir and orchestra were bringing to the evening.

After these two tasters the audience settled down to relish what must be pronounced the greatest dish on the menu.

This superb setting by Karl Jenkins of the GLORIA requires a large orchestra and choir, a sacred choral composition, completed in 2010, structured in five movements, the Proclamation, the Prayer, Psalm 150, the Song and the Exaltation. Spoken passages from sacred text from four religious traditions are part of the composition

This was a tour de force for the orchestra and choir with soprano soloist, Elaine Taylor, outstanding in the Song, “I’ll Make Music” and Joan Hainsworth rendering the spoken texts superbly.

Sir Arthur Sullivan       Te Deum Laudamus – A Thanksgiving for Victory      

Sullivan was a prolific English composer who supplemented his income by working as a church organist and music teacher, writing songs and hymns. Apart from the tune St Gertrude which he composed for the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”, Sullivan is best known for his collaboration with the dramatist W S Gilbert for 14 Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas.

The Te Deum was commissioned and first performed at the grand victory service held in St Paul’s Cathedral on June 8th 1902, eight days after the official ending of the South African Boer war and eighteen months after the death of both Sullivan and Queen Victoria. “Onward Christian Soldiers” is a recurring theme throughout.

The choir and the orchestra threw themselves back to the Victorian era with all the gusto of that time. It was clear that they thoroughly enjoyed “Onward Christian Soldiers”, singing and playing with a passion and pleasure to the delight of the audience some of whom no doubt could well have stood up and marched round the church.

Tunes from the Trenches                            arranged by Peter Lawson

Born 1950 Peter Lawson studied in Manchester with Derek Wyndham.

This is a medly of World War I Songs arranged for Choir and Orchestra starting with the recruiting song “Your King and Country Want You” followed by five well known British songs beginning with “Goodbye Dolly Gray” through to the “Bells of Hell go Ting-a-Ling-a-Ling”.

The first section was followed by Stille Nacht,  a reminder of the 1914 Christmas truce. The next few songs yearn for the end of the war and going home. Several songs for King and Country follow, including  “Land of Hope and Glory, a US Field Artillery song heralding the arrival of the Americans, “Over There” and a rousing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”.

The finale totally changed the mood. The “Last Post-lude” played on a single trumpet while red poppies descend, was a mark of respect for all those who died for their country in this and other wars, a fitting and soul stirring end to the concert.

The choir, the soloists and the orchestra combined superbly throughout the concert, displaying mastery of a wide range of tempos, styles and moods that made for a most enjoyable evening. Musical Director, Jane Miller ably assisted by Rehearsal Accompanist, Alison Hart are to be congratulated on a fine selection of music and for all the hard work in preparing and presenting the choir of 56 singers.

The exceptionally large orchestra of 32 musicians, Leader Jane Illes-Brooksbank, played beautifully to accompany and enhance the choral singing.




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