Archived Concerts 2008 – 2009

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2008 – 2009


Vaughan Williams A SEA SYMPHONY
Saturday 8th November 2008 7:30pm
Royal Concert Hall

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Sea Symphony
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS The Lark Ascending
GUSTAV HOLST Perfect Fool

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Conductor –
John Wilson

NOTTINGHAM HARMONIC CHOIR

Nottingham Evening Post Review:
CBSO/Nottingham Harmonic Society,
Royal Concert Hall (Saturday 8 November 2008)
Monday, November 10, 2008
{This concert was part of the Nottingham Classics series.)

FIFTY years have passed since the death of Vaughan Williams and, as a climax to this year’s celebration of the great man, the CBSO and the Nottingham Harmonic Society performed his Sea Symphony. The work’s epic scale and profound spiritual depth should, in the right hands, make it an emotionally shattering experience. It was in the right hands on Saturday night.
The choir had to summon up every ounce of energy and musicality to make their presence felt against a CBSO at full throttle and on top form. Most of the time the composer does not give his singers a chance to make the words heard – but their contribution to the symphonic texture was often thrilling. The opening “Behold the sea” was explosive and there was much impressive singing, capturing both the ocean’s turbulent surface and its quiet, mysterious depths.
Baritone Roderick Williams and soprano Janice Watson were the eloquent and well-matched soloists.

The Lark Ascending is often voted the nation’s favourite piece of classical music – so expectations were high. Violinist Laurence Jackson’s magical performance did not disappoint. Neither did the orchestra’s spirited rendition of Holst’s dances from The Perfect Fool. Conductor John Wilson provided incisive, insightful direction throughout.

WILLIAM RUFF

Handel MESSIAH
Saturday 6th December 2008 7:00pm
Royal Concert Hall

HANDEL
Messiah

Denise Leigh Soprano
Christopher Ainsley Counter tenor
Nicholas Ransley Tenor
Wyn Pencarreg Bass

ORCHESTRA DA CAMERA

Conductor – Murray Stewart

NOTTINGHAM HARMONIC CHOIR

Operatunity comes to Nottingham!

On Saturday 6 December at 7:00pm, the Nottingham Harmonic Society was joined in Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall by the Operatunity-winning soprano Denise Leigh for its annual performance of the full version of Handel’s Messiah. Denise, who was born with a condition resulting in blindness, has become a household name since winning Channel 4’s reality television show in 2003. Her passion for oratorio and early music has also been flourishing, with performances of the Mozart Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Brahms’ German Requiem and Poulenc’s Gloria, as well as Messiah at St George’s Church in
Hannover, Handel’s favourite concert venue. The other soloists joining the choir and the Orchestra da Camera under the baton of Murray Stewart were Christopher Ainsley, Nicholas Ransley and Wyn Pencarreg.

Messiah is probably Handel’s best known work. Composed over just a few weeks during the summer of 1741, it features some of Handel’s greatest music including For unto us a child is born, Worthy is the lamb that was slain and of course, the remarkable Hallelujah chorus.

FAMILY CAROL CONCERTS
Saturday 20th December 2008 7:00pm
Monday 22nd December 2008 7:00pm

NOTTINGHAM HARMONIC CHOIR

Conductor – Murray Stewart

THORESBY COLLIERY BAND

Nottingham Evening Post Review:
The format of the Harmonic Society’s family carol concert never changes. The reason? It settled years ago into its present perfection and luckily no one has been mad enough to change it. But there are always surprises – so no chance of getting stale.
Once the great pillars of the audience carols are in place, it’s a matter of choosing from the choir’s vast repertoire. It was good to see Vaughan Williams represented in his anniversary year by The Blessed Son of God as well as several John Rutter pieces, which by now must flow through the veins of every choir member. Less familiar (and considerably more taxing for the singers) was Gabrieli’s Jubilate Deo.

The Thoresby Colliery Band was once again on dazzling form, bursting onto the scene with their conductor’s own arrangement of Praetorius’ In Dulci Jubilo before showing off the virtuosity which has won them so many prizes. Highlights included solos by Geoff Hawley (in Flowerdale) and by Simon Willis and Kate Johnson (in The Prayer). Conductors Murray Stewart and Keith Wardle seemed equally at home whether directing fizzing performances from choir and band or coaxing Away in a Manger from the children in the audience.

WILLIAM RUFF

Brahms GERMAN REQUIEM / SONG of DESTINY
Saturday 28th March 2009 7:00pm
Royal Concert Hall

BRAHMS German Requiem
BRAHMS Song of Destiny

BEETHOVEN Leonora Overture No. 3

Soprano – Monica Bancos
Bass – James Oldfield

ORCHESTRA DA CAMERA

Guest Conductor – Paul Hale

NOTTINGHAM HARMONIC CHOIR

Spine-tingling – yet still tender
Monday, March 30, 2009, 06:58
PERHAPS a special medal should be struck for musicians capable of outstanding feats of stamina. If so, one would have to be awarded to conductor Paul Hale: the Bach Society’s St John Passion last week followed by the Harmonic’s Brahms’ German Requiem this week – two masterpieces full of technical complexity and emotional profundity.
The Harmonic took the Requiem’s vast canvas in its stride: tenderness in the outer movements as well as spine-tingling drama in the inexorable march of Denn alles Fleisch.
Rhythms were crisp, textures were clear and the text was transmitted with conviction.
The Orchestra da Camera contributed to the spiritual power of the work, as did accomplished young soloists Monica Bancos (soprano) and James Oldfield (Bass).
Choir and orchestra were equally successful in Brahms’ Song of Destiny.
As a curtain-raiser the orchestra performed Beethoven’s Leonora Overture No 3, creating plenty of adrenalin in its final frenetic moments.

William Ruff

Nottingham Evening Post

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