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Review: Fantasia, King's Lynn Festival Chorus

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The King’s Lynn Festival Chorus, conducted by the versatile and enthusiastic Tom Appleton, with support from the young organist, choral conductor, baroque specialist and keyboardist, Ben Horden presented a rich feast of Christmas entertainment, including appropriate readings, choral pieces and organ solos at Lynn’s Minster on Saturday.

The well balanced programme also included popular Christmas Carols which provided the capacity audience the opportunity to join in the seasonal celebrations.

The readings, read with clarity, included a famous extract from ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Dickens, and an amusing ‘dig’ at A Politically Correct Christmas, a poem with the same title, by Harvey Ehrlich.

Kings Lynn Festival Chorus in rehearsals ahead of Saturday's night concert. (25286522)
Kings Lynn Festival Chorus in rehearsals ahead of Saturday's night concert. (25286522)

The musical selection was varied, including many moods and styles, and was sung and played with gusto and solemnity when appropriate!

I was glad The Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Vaughan Williams was included, with soloist Alastair Legg, as this is a fine, atmospheric piece, and VW has, of course, connections with King’s Lynn, collecting folk songs here in the early 20th century.

Other pieces included works by Sweelinck, Palestrina, Walton, Adam and Leroy Anderson. Some fine arrangements were included (John Rutter responsible for one), and several by the famous late choir master at King’s College, Cambridge, Sir David Willcocks.

On the lighter side, we all enjoyed the famous, musical Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson (an organ solo), and the evening finished with a Willcock’s arrangement of Jingle Bells.

A fine Fantasia, thanks to all involved; we look forward to their performance of JS Bach’s St.Matthew Passion, at St.Nicholas’ Chapel, in April.

Andy Tyler

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