Not an easy piece, by any means - Handel’s Dixit Dominus is well known as a tremendous challenge for both singers and orchestras – and for that reason, not a piece that every choir will tackle.
But nothing daunted, Andrew Padmore, YPC’s exacting and indefatigable Musical Director led the choir, the Amici Ensemble and the soloists, Katie Kelly (soprano); Clare McCaldin (mezzo); Christopher Trenholme (Tenor); Miles Taylor (Bass) and two soloists from within YPC, Emily Atkinson and Charlotte Wright, through this piece of dramatic contrasts, some very fast paced, most with many layers of interwoven voices and full of drama, to its wonderful finale – and to the resounding and enthusiastic appreciation of a delighted audience at its close. What a magnificent work – and what a performance.
Having sung the very challenging Dixit Dominus, did YPC rest on their laurels and have an easier second half? Not to be outshone by the first half of the concert, they then went on to perform the Vivaldi Gloria entirely without copies, remembering every word, every note and every bit of dynamic phrasing. This is a beautiful, sunny and uplifting work – full of distinctive melodies and rhythms – and YPC engaged the full attention and approval of the audience with the precision, enthusiasm and skill with which they sang.
Having opened the night’s music with a bold and exciting rendition of Handel’s ‘Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’, the Amici Ensemble continued to play, as ever, with great sensitivity and precision – providing the perfect accompaniment to the voices.
Katie Kelly was more than just a ‘safe pair of hands’ in both pieces – her graceful phrasing and easy mastery of the works brought her pieces to life. Clare McCauldin brought huge personality, colour and vivacity to her solos – her lovely mezzo tones providing a striking complement to Katie’s soprano voice. She was a joy to both watch and to listen to, demonstrating tremendous engagement with the audience.
Two movements in Dixit Dominus require a second soprano soloist. These roles were filled admirably by two soloists from YPC, Emily and Charlotte. Both have clear, beautiful voices – and despite their lack of years, their voices showed no lack of musicianship or skill. Emily and Charlotte have both won bursaries with YPC – and undoubtedly are two names to watch out for in the future!
There were solo parts in one of the movements of the Dixit Dominus for male voices, filled by Christopher Trenholme and Miles Taylor. Miles has sung with YPC many times and each time his voice is richer, showing an astonishing range and presence.
Aristotle told us (more than two thousand years ago) that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – and, on Saturday 6th April, Andrew Padmore proved this. YPC sang like angels, the soloists were excellent, and the Amici Ensemble real virtuosos – but under the magic of Andrew’s leadership, these music makers delivered, to the delight and thunderous applause of the audience, a performance second to none – indeed, a triumph!