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'Phil even impresses its own soloists


Dewsbury Town Hall

November 15 2008

“Aren’t they a marvellous choir?” asked the man who caught up with us on route back to the car following another ‘Phil tour-de-force. We could only confirm his sentiment – but not until he remarked “that’s the first time I’ve sung with them” and I realised it was guest bass John Cunningham did the full significance of his observation become apparent. For if a man who has sung for the English National Opera and Opera North, in the Albert Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, was so impressed by the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir, then there seems little else I need add. However, to do so would be to ignore what for most of the audience was the highlight of the evening: an effortlessly virtuoso performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major by Emma Johnson which prompted thunderous applause and saw her called back twice before the clamour subsided. In a more than usually varied programme, the choir once again exhibited the full range of its peerless capabilities, including the sopranos’ beautiful rendition of Brahms’ Ave Maria though it was during the latter movements of Mozart’s Requiem that its full power was thrillingly evident. This Requiem is a piece, in which the soloists work mainly as a quartet, something they did with consummate skill, though contralto Margaret McDonald deserves singling out for the depth and range exhibited here and earlier in Alto Rhapsody. If this performance was representative of what is to come from the ‘Phil then a vintage season lies ahead.

David Pickersgill, Wakefield Express.

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