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Review: King's Lynn Festival Chorus, St Nicholas Chapel, Lynn

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The King’s Lynn Festival Chorus, under musical director Tom Appleton, always present varied and high-quality concerts and their offering on Saturday, consisting of Brahms’ delicious and delightful Liebesliederwalzer, op.52 and Rossini’s highly original Petite Messe Solennelle, was no exception.

During the programme the chorus was joined by a fine line-up of soloists: Soprano, Angela Brun, Alto, Freya Jacklin , Tenor, Ben Thapa and Bass, Jolyon Loy and on the grand pianos: Ben Horden and Nick Tudor. In the Rossini Messe Solennelle, The harmonium was played by Matthew Searles.

During the concert’s first half, Brahms’ charming Liebeslieder Waltzes, ( a collection of love songs in Ländler, folk dance style), were beautifully rendered by vocalists and pianists, with the song’s changes of mood and tone subtlety captured.

Not the greatest of lyrics, perhaps, but love and romance in all it’s differing forms expressed! Interestingly Clara Schumann and Hermann Levi premiered the waltzes at the pianos, and when published in 1870, they were a resounding success.

It was not long before, that the first performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle was given, (for choir, soloists , two pianos and harmonium). This was later orchestrated in the years 1866-7. The piece, in it’s original form was for the salon, and it’s style is multifaceted, at times lively and rhythmical ( as in the opening Kyrie, Domine Deus and Cum Sancto), and at others serious and more in the style of choral composers contemporary with Rossini and those of the past.

The Preludio religioso, for instance (non-choral), seemed, in my view, influenced by the keyboard music of JS Bach. So a fine , original work, both, solemn and spiritual, but at times, perhaps a little light hearted and ‘tongue in cheek’? Certainly a sin of Rossini’s old age!

We have come to expect fine performances from The King’s Lynn Festival Chorus and once again we were not disappointed. Together with soloists, pianists and that not over-used harmonium, the originality and beauty of the Messe was presented with style to an enthusiastic audience.

The chorus performs in May, this time it’s Verdi’s Requiem in Ely, Saturday, May 4, 7.30pm at Ely Cathedral.

Andy Tyler.

Kings Lynn Festival Chorus in rehearsals ahead of Saturday's night concert (7086370)
Kings Lynn Festival Chorus in rehearsals ahead of Saturday's night concert (7086370)

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