Sunday 20th November 2011
The problem with regularly performed works like Messiah is that they lack freshness of delivery, running the risk of leaving audiences emotionally short-changed if not in fact jaded.
Nothing, however, could be further from the truth with the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir's vibrant and exhilarating performance of Handel's masterpiece, to which it brought in turns both vigor and sensitivity as it responded to changes of mood within the piece.
Accompanied by the talent-laden Amici Ensemble the choir distinguished itself throughout but especially in For Unto Us a Child Is Born, The Lord Gave The Word and, predictably perhaps, the resounding Hallelujah Chorus, producing a blend of voices that bordered on the sublime.
Guest Soloist Christina Jones (soprano) rose well to the challenges of the score, giving a particularly captivating performance of I Know That My Redeemer Liveth, while Tim Kennedy (tenor) displayed delightful clarity and purity of tone in several recitatives.
Matthew Lennox (alto) showed copious vocal agility in dealing with the changing dynamics of his part, but major plaudits must go to Alistair Ollerenshaw (baritone) whose finely-honed performance was characterised by great assurance and authority.
Under the authoritative baton of maestro Andrew Padmore and with accompanist Thomas Moore, the choir combined with the orchestra and soloists to give a strongly faith-affirming recital that is sure to live long in the memory of the audience, which erupted with well-deserved, rapturous applause on conclusion.