April 2023

Spring Concert 2023

A capacity audience, a ticket sell out and a few unlucky people turned away at the door marked the triumphant beginning of Skipton Choral Society’s Easter concert in Christ Church, Skipton.

The musical director, Robert Webb, began the concert with an intensely moving work by the American composer Morten Lauridsen, ‘Lux Aeterna’, a five movement requiem for choir and chamber orchestra. An ethereal opening by the orchestra was followed by a beautifully sung first entry from the choir enhanced by crystal clear diction. Just occasionally, in the fortissimo moments, the choir was obscured by the orchestral accompaniment, but otherwise they were sympathetically supported by the chamber orchestra. The first movement ended with a beautiful cello accompaniment. The unaccompanied singing in the other movements was moving. The men sang with depth and conviction, the sopranos soared and in ‘O Nata Lux’ were ably supported by the subtle alto parts. The ‘Veni, Sancte Spiritus’ was particularly uplifting.

In the second half of the concert we heard a work by the popular Welsh composer, Karl Jenkins, ‘Symphonic Adiemus’, consisting of twelve pieces from his ‘Adiemus’ series. The text used is a pseudo Latin ‘invented language’ created by Mr Jenkins, the lyrics themselves having no meaning. The layers of voices are used as another instrument.

This choral and orchestral creation follows the formula established with his ‘Mass for Peace’. Some of the twelve sections had beautiful orchestral opening passages, featuring sensitive playing from the brass and then the string sections. But much of Jenkins’ musical language is basic and repetitive, with a heavy use of percussive ostinato. The choir are to be congratulated on making these repetitive elements sound varied and fresh.

One heart warming element of this concert was the inclusion of a joint choir from Skipton Girls’ High School