Here`s our latest review for Langcliffe singers.
LANGCLIFFE SINGERS: 2/12/17
SETTLE PARISH CHURCH
The first half of the programme was a performance of Bach's "Magnificat", a very appropriate choice for the eve of Advent as it is a piece which looks forward to the birth of the Christ child and is Mary's response to the news. A mixture of choral and solo pieces, divided into 13 sections which vary in mood it is undoubtedly a very powerful and complex piece. As is traditional the choir used its own members for the solo parts and in doing so provided the opportunity for the various elements within the choir to shine. It was a striking performance and aided by a stunning organ accompaniment by Alastair MacKenzie. The second item in the programme was "The Lamb" by John Tavener, a particularly haunting setting of William Blake's poem from "Songs of Innocence". This short unaccompanied four-part choral piece is enhanced by its simplicity and was a poignant interlude in the programme. The third piece of the evening was "On Christmas Night" by Bob Chilcott, a cleverly constructed sequence of carols, some well known and others less so, interspersed with bible readings to create a new take on the Christmas Story. Throughout the piece well known carols are skillfully interwoven with other pieces so that they seem to grow out of the older and more traditional pieces and merge in with newer creations. This subtle interweaving creates some very moving moments although equally it can at times be slightly distracting as there were points when it was hard to always focus on one set of words when there were other layers of sound. Clearly this was not helped by the fact that at times the male voices did tend to drown out the sopranos, however the choir did tackle these issues well and for the most part achieved a good balance. It certainly cannot be easy to focus on singing a lesser known tune and new words while the person next to you is singing something far more familiar. Congratulations then to all the soloists in this section who performed so well and rose to the complexities and challenges of the piece. Similarly congratulations to Liz Neale and Nigel Waugh for their wonderful interpretations of the readings which added so much to this performance. It really was a stunning piece and the memory of the very beautiful solo sung to the traditional tune while set against a choral singing of an alternative tune in "O Little Town" will stay in the memory of the audience throughout the season. It was surprising how hearing well-known words to a different tune can truly make you focus once more upon their meaning. This was a delightful programme with some wonderful moments and a fitting start to Advent and Christmas music in the town.