2012 – 2013
|Elgar DREAM OF GERONTIUS|
Saturday 10th November 2012 7:30pm
ELGAR Dream of Gerontius
Conductor – Richard Laing
Monday, November 12, 2012
By William Ruff
Filling their voices with tears for Elgar
Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius circulates around the veins and arteries of the Harmonic Choir. This sense of intimate knowledge was apparent at the first entry of the semi-chorus who, as friends of the dying man, pray for him at his bedside. Elgar urged his singers to avoid sounding churchy and instead to fill their voices with tears. This was exactly the effect on Saturday night. When the full choir was used, the fact that the singers were securely inside the music led to the overwhelming splendour of ‘Praise to the Holiest’ as well as the vivid drama of the demonic chorus. Conductor Richard Laing ensured that the choral sound was well-balanced and the words well-projected.
The young musicians of the Queen’s Park Sinfonia provided not only sensitive accompaniment but also intensified the drama, the light and shade of the orchestral Introduction being particularly gripping.
end of review
Regarded by many, including Elgar himself, as Elgar’s finest choral work, Dream of Gerontius is a setting of the poem by John Henry Newman which follows the imagined journey of a soul through death and beyond, guided by a guardian angel.
James Oldfield is a young and rising star. Having made his operatic debut only two years ago he has already been described as ‘terrific’ by Opera Now magazine, and has sung principal parts with Opera North, Garsington Opera, and the Royal Opera House. He has sung as a soloist with the Halle, RPO and LSO in major venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Bridgewater Hall, the Barbican and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. He is also fairly local – he grew up in Leicester where he was a chorister at the Cathedral, then studied at Trintiy College, Cambridge followed by the Royal College of Music and the Benjamin Britten Opera School.
Saturday 1st December 2012 7:00pm
Start your Christmas season with an evening of inspirational music.
This concert comes at the start of Advent, when we are all finally becoming aware that it really isn’t long until Christmas, even though the shops have been anticipating it for months. Come and have an evening to escape from the bustle and let Handel’s glorious music wash over you and renew you.
|FAMILY CAROL CONCERTS|
Wednesday 19th December 2012 7:00pm
Nottingham Harmonic Choir
Conductor – Richard Laing
Bring the whole family to enjoy Christmas music at these ever-popular, child-friendly concerts.
The choir and band lead the audience in well-loved Christmas carols, while the choir provides
The Thoresby Colliery Band is one of the most exciting brass bands in Europe, and regularly wins countless accolades
|Elgar MUSIC MAKERS – 6th April 2013|
Saturday 6th April 2013 7:30pm
Nottingham Classics – The Hallé
Sibelius The Bard & Symphony No 2
After Hours: (approx. 9:30pm)
Capturing spirit of Elgar proves special
Monday, April 08, 2013 Nottingham Post
It was enough to hear the opening bars of Elgar’s The Music Makers to know that Saturday night’s performance was
There is no finer Elgar conductor than Sir Mark Elder and both the Hallé and the Nottingham Harmonic
The subtle shading of the choral sound was not only highly responsive to the letter of Elgar’s careful
Whether as ‘dreamers of dreams’ or as ‘the movers and shakers of the world’ the Choir left the audience
Standing in for an indisposed mezzo soloist was Catherine Wyn-Rogers, rich and firm of voice as well as
Sibelius’ elegiac tone poem The Bard and his 2nd Symphony made up the rest of the programme, as Sir Mark demonstrated his
by Mike Wheeler Sound and Vision
The more I hear Elgar’s The music makers the more unjustly underrated it seems. Agreed, there are moments that go off the boil somewhat, but they are only moments in a work that can be deeply poignant in the right hands.
Conductor Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra are unquestionably the right hands, and their performance with Nottingham Harmonic Choir conveyed a total belief in the piece. Impassioned playing in the orchestral introduction paved the way for a choral contribution whose sharply focused tone and unflagging energy were hugely impressive. Catherine Wyn-Rogers, standing in at short notice for an indisposed Christine Rice, made an impact right from her first entry, and led Elgar’s tribute to August (‘Nimrod’) Jaeger at the words ‘But on one man’s soul it hath lightened’ in as profoundly moving a way as any I’ve heard.
The concert opened with Sibeliusï¿½s The Bard. If ever a work illustrates the ‘less is more” principle, this one surely does – rarely can so few notes have said so much. The music’s spareness and concentration were gripping, and the brief moment in the spotlight for the trumpets and trombones at the end was spine-tingling.
Sibeliusï¿½s Second Symphony is often described as his farewell to the big romantic symphony, but Mark Elderï¿½s conducting presented an unexpectedly modernist take on the work, pointing up the fact that it looks forward just as much as back. This was particularly true of the second movement, where the abrupt contrasts of mood were emphasised to the point where dislocation rather than continuity was the dominant tone. The first movement was purposeful, with a finely-judged control of pace; the third had terrific driving energy, offering, again. maximum contrast with the expansive treatment given the trio section.
In the finale Sibelius presented his interpreters with a huge interpretative challenge: after a sweeping transition into the finale the energy level drops almost to a standstill before having to generate even greater excitement a second time. Elder and the Hallé kept a firm grip on the current, maintaining and even surpassing the initial level of excitement the second time round.
|Southwell 2013 – Rütti Requiem|
Saturday 11th May 2013 7:30pm
No official review, but this was an amazing concert
The first half of the concert was familiar to most in the audience and was lovely, as expected, with Finzi,
At the beginning of the second half the orchestra and choir arrived on stage, Richard Laing took his post.
Through the gloom a single voice began to float from somewhere unseen, intoning the opening words of the Requiem,
The choir joined the melody, in hushed tones, still completely unaccompanied, as the mellifluous setting of the
The vibrant tones of a solo cello repeated fragments of the earlier melody then moved forward into the next movement. The orchestral sound slowly increased in volume and
To do full justice to the work, many paragraphs would be written – there simply is not space here.
The Requiem ends much as it begins, the choir having dimmed to a mere murmur, followed by the Soprano’s solo voice slowly vanishing into the distance.
The awed stillness at the end of the performance, before the applause erupted, indicated that had the performance
Carl Rï¿½tti is a Swiss composer, specialising in choral and liturgical music. His work is characteristically filled
Elgar Serenade For Strings
This was one of Elgar’s earliest works, and the first one with which he was reputed to have been reasonably satisfied,
Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs
This needs very little introduction as it is frequently performed and justifiably well-loved part of choral repertoire.
Finzi Lo the Full Final Sacrifice
This may be less familiar, but again is appropriate for Easter and should work well in Southwell Minster.