CHOIR'S THOUGHT-PROVOKING TRIBUTE TO FORMER CHAIRMAN
Dedicated to former YPC chairman Richard Haigh, and including two of his favourite pieces, Aaron Copland’s Fanfare For The Common Man and Hubert Parry’s soaring Coronation Anthem I Was Glad, this concert, enhanced by visual and dramatic art, is destined to live long in the memory of those who attended.
From the theme of glorification in Poulenc’s Gloria to that of commemoration in Elgar’s The Spirit Of England with their contrasting moods and dynamics, the programme’s main works placed considerable demands on the choir and the accompanying Amici Ensemble – demands that were met with apparent ease.
Drawing on a colourful musical palette, Poulenc’s Gloria in six short movements, characterised by sharp and frequent harmony changes, is curiously jaunty in places for a sacred work yet soulfully lyrical in others.
Both its serenity and ‘joie de vivre’ were given full expression by the choir and guest soloist, soprano Samantha Hay.
After an emotive rendition of Elgar’s Nimrod variation by the superb Amici Ensemble, the men of the audience found themselves being harangued by thespian Dave Clark in the guise of an overbearing WW1 recruiting sergeant with a myriad of compelling reasons for their immediate enlistment.
Ably supported by Rose Seal as a suffragette and with visual imagery as a backdrop by Jonathan Brennan, he forcefully conveyed the atmosphere that prevailed during the government’s mass recruitment campaign a century ago.
With a text comprising three poems by Laurence Binyon and alternating with readings by Dave Clark and Rose Seal, Elgar’s The Spirit Of England brought this memorable concert to a conclusion, infusing the audience with the comparative optimism of The Fourth Of August, the poignancy of To Women and the tragic reality of For The Fallen.
Soloist Samantha Hay excelled throughout, exercising impressive vocal control especially in her upper register, and captivating the audience with her warm, endearing tones.
Under the baton of Andrew Padmore choir, soloist, and orchestra combined to produce not only a richly rewarding musical experience but one that was deeply moving and profoundly thought- provoking.
Richard Haigh, I feel sure, would have been delighted.