Review by Robert Cowan of The Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration Concert in Wakefield Cathedral on Saturday, 29 June, 2013:
Given the vast repertoire of modern and classical masterpieces available, it could not have been easy for the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir to choose works to feature in its celebratory Diamond Jubilee Concert. Its main choice of ‘The Peacemakers’ by Karl Jenkins and ‘Gloria’ by John Rutter was however, a prudent one, allowing it not only to showcase its considerable vocal talents but also to provide its audience with an unforgettable musical experience.
Drawing on texts from The Bible and The Qur’an in its 17 short movements as well as the ideas of iconic peace-seekers of diverse creeds and nationalities such as The Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela, ‘The Peacemakers’ is a challenging work to perform, but together with the wonderful Amici Ensemble the YPC rose admirably to the challenge, blending words and music in a truly inspirational way.
Particular highlights were provided by solo soprano Christina Jones who demonstrated great vocal control and purity of tone in Terry Waite’s ‘Meditation: Peace is ...’, and the sweet-voiced children of Richmond House School Choir who enthralled the audience throughout.
The brass and percussion sections of the Amici Ensemble were also impressive in Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’, performed before the full orchestra recombined with the choir to convey both the dynamism and the beauty of Rutter’s ‘Gloria’, dramatically contrasting the stirring outer movements with the central ‘miserere’ theme.
As a surprise ‘coda’ to the concert, the choir delighted its audience with a vigorous rendition of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Handel’s ‘Messiah’.
Under the baton of maestro Andrew Padmore, the YPC once again stamped its authority on the evening’s performance, evincing a professionalism that is the hallmark of a premier choir.