Harpenden Choral Society hit the highs

PUBLISHED: 11:21 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 06 May 2010

SATURDAY S concert given by Harpenden Choral Society in Harpenden High Street Methodist Church was an undoubted success. Now in their 34th season, the choristers performed with enthusiasm, giving attention to detail under the direction of John Andrews who

SATURDAY'S concert given by Harpenden Choral Society in Harpenden High Street Methodist Church was an undoubted success. Now in their 34th season, the choristers performed with enthusiasm, giving attention to detail under the direction of John Andrews who conducted expertly.

They were accompanied by the King's Sinfonietta who played eminently well but occasionally overpowered the choir. Percussion and organ contributions were particularly notable, providing suitably atmospheric effects.

Brass and strings were astoundingly precise throughout, and all played with clarity and aplomb. It was quite a logistical feat considering the programme content, but all the players were in place when needed.

The Mass by Jongen did not inspire me as a work but the choir produced a good result overall. They had a few moments of doubt as to entries, but Gloria was ear catching. Credo provided some fine interplay with the brass, all to great jubilation. An amazing diminuendo at the end of the Agnus Dei was impressive.

The Chichester Psalms, Bernstein, began in an explosive and exuberant way. The whole piece whisked along gloriously, with a fantastic contribution in Psalm 23 by Alexander L'Estrange, counter tenor. Sung in Hebrew, I wondered about the clarity of diction but there was no lack of energy in the vibrant sections. The long notes at the end were admirable.

Rutter's Gloria was performed with pizzazz. Great rhythmic excitement was generated by the orchestra, particularly trumpet flourishes and animated percussion work. A bird song organ introduction to Domine Deus was captivating. The choir sang valiantly, and were obviously enjoying the experience.

A most engaging evening and high praise to all who organised it.

Neil Buick


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