This review appeared in the Darlington and Stockton Times on
5 December 2014. It is reproduced here with permission.
Copyright © Newsquest (North East) Ltd, 2014
The Armed Man - a Mass for Peace
This North Yorkshire Chorus concert opened with Chilcott's Requiem in beautifully expressive style, with fine singing by soloists soprano Rachel Little and tenor Christopher Steele.
Chilcott's work is a standard presentation of the requiem,, working through the usual form of the mass. It is a fine, sensitive piece of much sweetness, and also busy rhythmic passages punctuated by trumpet and drums, not to mention competition on this occasion from Guy Fawkes fireworks in close vicinity.
For this performance, the chorus was enhanced by instrumentalists of the Pro Musica Orchestra, which made a pleasing contribution.
Karl Jenkins's Mass for Peace is a very powerful work - almost Brechtian in its contrasts and shocks. It has a great entry with a rising military theme of drums building to the choir's entrance.
Among other musical devices is the Moslem Call to Prayer, which was beautifully delivered by Imam Waleid. This had an almost hypnotic effect, completely stilling the audience.
In this work Jenkins casts his net wide, bringing in references from Christian, Moslem and Hindu religious disciplines as well as an excerpt from a Japanese poem.
Under the direction of the excellent Gregg Smith and Andrew Christer, accompanist and deputy chorus director, both gifted musicians, the North Yorkshire Chorus did full justice to Jenkins' composition
The choir's next concert is Baroque Music for Christmas in All Saints' Church, Northallerton, tomorrow,