Archive & Reviews

12 May 2018                              HAYDN'S CREATION


1 JULY 2017                  A MUSICAL DOUBLE BILL        

8 APRIL / 9 APRIL 2017                                         BRIAN HOARE'S 'NEW CREATION'

10 DECEMBER 2016                                                    A CHRISTMAS CRACKER















2 JULY 2016                                                                       CARMINA BURANA


19 MARCH 2016                                                                 SPRING CONCERT


12 DECEMBER 2015                                                             THE MESSIAH


27 JUNE 2015                                                 IT'S A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING


28 March 2015                                                    Faure Requiem & Choral Classics  

13 DECEMBER 2014                                                            CHRISTMAS FANTASIA

28 JUNE 2014                                                                     BICYCLE BUILT FOR TWO

12 APRIL 2014                                                                       BRAHMS REQUIEM

14 DECEMBER 2013                                                        CHRISTMAS CONCERT


29 JUNE 2013                                                                        SUMMER CONCERT

There’s no canvas too broad for the Knaresborough Choral Society, it seems, as its summer show on 29 June 2013 toured the world in 80 enjoyable minutes – or just over thanks to a late addition and a well-merited encore. Held at the Methodist Church on Gracious Street, the Concert drew in an appreciative audience, suitably impressed with the range and technical difficulty of many of the pieces on offer.

If it was an ambitious plan to sample 21 songs from different parts of the world, it was made more so by the decision to perform in a mixture of tongues – indigenous Australian, Punjabi, Zulu, Swazi, Italian and, it has to be said, Lancastrian too! The concert took us from the vaunting spirals of Cantique de Jean Racine and the majestic canvas of Going Home lyrics set to Dvorak’s New World Symphony, to the great fun of the lullaby Counting up my Toes, Waltzing Matilda and Orpheus in the Underground, which sets the can-can in the subterranean context of stations on the Victoria and Bakerloo lines (among others) on London’s Tube.

Not stopping there, the full repertoire included organ recitals of Bach’s Air from the Suite in D, Trumpet Tune from Purcell and the glorious piano duet of Humoresque by Dvorak. And in a wonderful change of pace there was a spirited rendering of the prose poem Albert and the Lion set in Blackpool. If anyone wondered how this fitted into the idea of a world tour, the answer must surely lay in how Blackpool once existed as an exemplar of exoticism for so many of its visitors.

A great surprise was the Pakistani hymn Blest be God (Rabe Ki Hove) sung to a traditional Punjabi tune. Like the Zulu hymn Marching (Siyahamba) it bore the unmistakable feel of its homeland. Inevitably, this wasn’t the case with others: the aria Ombra mai fu was sung in its original Italian, telling a story set in ancient Persia written by the German-British composer George Frederic Handel, a true polyglot effort. Certainly, the two pieces from the Mikado – A Wandering Minstrel I and Tit-Willow – were welcome perennial favorites, though they only have the haziest connection to Japan.

With such variety on offer there was the risk the concert could seem disjointed and in the first part before the break there were pauses for introductions which could have been dispensed with, and indeed were in the second half. While all the pieces were worthy of performance, the order settled on stuttered in the early part. Thus the concert swung along much better after the break when it built momentum and focus. Also, a route map might have been helpful and the programme notes could have helped by explaining more about where we were and where we were headed. Some of the solo and individual performances were slightly hesitant, due perhaps to nerves.  But this is minor carping and the odd sour note did little to undermine the overall success of the event. Any backward glances were certainly over well before the rousing climax of Orpheus in the Underground.

Above all, the Knaresborough Choral Society’s Summer Concert was great fun and it was clear that the choir enjoyed it as much as the audience, and the experience was all the better for it. Nothing felt stale or over-practiced; if anything the occasional glitch showed the welcome breath of spontaneity.

Summer is the traditional time for travel and the menu was well chosen. The recipe was light, the preparation allowed nothing to boil for too long, the taste was delicate and the service eventually grew to be bright and unfussy. The accompaniment suited the performance, and the changes of pace ensured that each course could be fully appreciated. And in the light and airy spaces of Gracious Street Methodist Church, with the doors wide open on this warm evening, there was a fresh air ambience that matched the occasion. Exactly as ordered!

Nigel Perry.