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A lovely concert by King's Lynn Festival Chorus

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IKON – a concert of religious choral music was performed at St Nicholas Chapel in Lynn on Saturday.

What a lovely concert this was! A slimmed down King’s Lynn Festival Chorus, only 55 in number, strove to provide their audience with an hour’s-worth of beautiful music.

Under the calm and assured direction of the hugely talented Ben Horden and through a thoughtfully considered programme, the singers added some wonderful music to their repertoire.

St NIcholas Chapel (7075104)
St NIcholas Chapel (7075104)

Ben Horden has achieved the seemingly impossible in producing a well-balanced, dynamically diverse and often very sweet sound from a choir that hasn’t performed for many months and has only met regularly since the start of this September. Quite a feat!

The well-chosen programme contained pieces ranging from the 19th century to the present one. Some were familiar, others not so, but all contained some beautiful singing.

Arvo Pärt’s ‘Bogoroditse Devo’ made a very interesting change from the familiar Rachmaninov version, regularly sung by the choir in the past. This new, spirited version was followed by John Tavener’s ‘Mother of God, here I stand’ - a gentle, sweetly sung piece which demonstrated the choir’s ability to change mood. Indeed, throughout the programme, emphasis was put on the variation of dynamics and mood.

Tippett’s ‘Five Spirituals from A Child of our Time’ is not an easy sing but the chorus made avaliant effort. Soloists Charlotte Bowden and Michael Lafferty, with their powerful and very beautiful voices, joined the choir for these moving spirituals. Michael also sang a solo partin the hauntingly lovely ‘Song for Athene’, again by Tavener. This piece gave the male voices in the chorus the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to sustain evenly pitched, long notes – in a ‘drone’ effect for the rest of the choir to build upon. The effect was mesmerising.

Gustav Holst’s ‘Nunc dimittis’ ended the concert with Charlotte re-joining the choir for a rousing finale. I hope to see these very talented young soloists again in future concerts.

With no accompaniment in this concert, there was nowhere to hide and occasionally a slight loss of pitch could be discerned together with one or two fumbling starts to pieces.

However, considering the difficult harmonies and complexities of the music, plus all the set-backs of the past two years, this was a small price to pay for a quality concert. The enthusiasm and commitment of all concerned resulted in some delightful singing,

KLFC and Ben Horden are to be heartily thanked and congratulated on delivering such an uplifting concert of religious choral music.

Jan Clubb

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