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A superb, deeply moving evening

The Palm Sunday evening presentation of St John Passion in Wakefield Cathedral by the YPC, the Amici Ensemble and 6 gifted soloists was an experience that performers and the 300 plus audience will remember for many years to come.

Superb performance is one thing, but when that performance also draws out the emotion and the deeply moving moments of a work such as Bach's St. John Passion then performance reaches new heights.

Neither choir, orchestra nor soloists let the undoubted challenges of Bach's music prevent them from interpreting it in such a way as to allow all present to become fully absorbed in and affected by the graffic events of Holy Week, as expressed through the work. Credit must be given to Andrew Padmore's sensitive interpretation and masterful guidance of the resourses to hand.

As the 'Evangelist' Gwilym Bowen was outstanding. His vocal qualites being almost made for the role and his interpretive skill to establish the appropriate atmosphere at each point in the work was superb.

The interplay between Henry Hawksworth as Christ and Phil Wilcox as Pilate was masterful, responding to each other in a way that emphasised the tension between the two characters, producing a near mesmerising effect.

Each of the other soloists, Katy Kelly, Edward Button and Tim Kennedy, whose solo parts are more reflective than integral to the story, created just the right mood, enhancing and heightening the atmosphere.

The choir has several roles to play. In the Choruses - the crowd, the chief priests and pharisees, soldiers, which it did with confidence and the venom sometimes called for. Yet in Bach's wonderful Chorales the choir seemed to effortlessly soothe yet challenge the listener, with excellent, controlled singing.

Add to all this the confident and sensitive playing of the entire Amici Ensemble, with near virtuoso performances by individual sections, as called for in the score, (notable mention must be made of David Wessling (Cello), Tom Moore (Continuo), and the entire woodwind and strings sections and the high quality of the whole performance can be appreciated.

Whenever and whatever the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir performs, we have come to expect the highest standard of musicianship, interpretation and performance. This evening was certainly no exception.

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