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Praise heaped on choir’s concert

Jenkins – Stabat Mater

Rutter – Feel the Spirit

Wakefield Cathedral

Saturday April 4 2009

Members of the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir could be forgiven for giving themselves a collective pat on the back following the success of their latest concert.

The aftermath of their performance of Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater and John Rutter’s Feel The Spirit in Wakefield Cathedral earlier this month saw a welter of congratulations heading their way, including one from Leeds College of Music principal Philip Meaden. He wrote: “Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The performances were a credit to all concerned and they were given with such evident commitment and enjoyment. The Jenkins was a revelation and the Rutter a splendid counterpoint to it.”

Choir chairman Richard Haigh said: “The choir members were extremely confident in performance which transmitted itself to the audience who were moved by the overall atmosphere of the two pieces as we moved into Holy Week”

He continued: “This confidence arises from the excellent rehearsal scheduling by Andrew Padmore which ensured every one was thoroughly versed in their parts.”

Andrew himself was keener to credit the choir, saying: “As soon as we got under way with the rehearsal on Saturday I knew that all was just going to fall into place. “Both soloists were eulogising over the choir, who once again really brought out the passion and joy in the music.”

In the first half of the concert soloist Belinda Sykes captured the mood of Jenkins’ arrangement of Stabat Mater brilliantly by passionately conveying the angst of Mary, [Mother of Jesus], at the time of the crucifixion, by the use of the Aramaic languages and by playing the hauntingly fascinating Duduk.

The second half of the programme was devoted to Rutter’s Feel the Spirit with soloist Melanie Marshall. With this change of mood of the music she once again thrilled the choir and audience with her sensitivity, joy and exuberance in the varying seven negro spiritual songs. Her performance resulted in the rare occurrence of a cathedral audience demanding an encore, resulting in Melanie conducting the audience through a repeat of the final chorus ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ much to the amusement of regular conductor Andrew Padmore.

However it was Andrew’s overall direction of choir and orchestra which ensured that once again the audience went away feeling well satisfied and uplifted.

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