Reviews

Here you will find reviews and comments about the choir.

GIGGLESWICK CHAPEL: 11/6/16

LANCASTER SINGERS: ACROSS THE POND

The beautiful interior of Giggleswick chapel means that it is always a wonderful setting for concerts and the music created by the vibrant Lancaster Singers certainly lived up to the ambience of the venue. The music in "Across the Pond" included works from America, Canada and Britain and showed a tremendous range and diversity of styles, showcasing not only the talents of the choir as a whole but also providing a spotlight on the chamber choir, individual voices and the tremendous skills of the pianist, Ian Tate who performed a scintillating quartet of piano blues by Aaron Copland.


The programme was an interesting mixture of sacred and secular music, opening with a very striking and relatively modern piece "Jubilate Deo" which allowed the full impact of the eight part choral singing to be experienced. The purity of the tone added to the power of the piece tremendously. There was then a change of mood with three linked pieces: " I beheld her, beautiful as a dove", "She walks in beauty" and "Rise up my love, my fair one". This interesting trio of songs demonstrated admirably the very precise nature of the choir's singing and the wonderful blending of their voices.

There is a Welsh word, hiraeth, for which there is no direct English translation but which is well suited to describe the incredibly atmospheric rendition of many of the songs in this programme. It was there in the acapella version of the America folksong, Shenandoah and in the dying notes of Stanford’s "The Bluebird". It is a sense of poignant longing, touched with sadness for something departed and a wistfulness over what never can be; it is the moment when you feel the connection with something - in this case the music - and can't express why or how you are connected.

The range of emotions covered in this concert however was vast, with examples of great jollity in "It was a love and his lass”, a peculiarly eerie lullaby in Whitacre's "Sleep" and a powerfully uplifting hymn of praise in Scholz's "What Wondrous Love is this." A real highlight however was the stunning rendition of Morten Lauridsen's song, "Dirait-on" which gave the audience the opportunity to wonder at the fantastic harmonies created by this outstanding group of singers.

The programme drew to a close with two particularly atmospheric pieces, "Lullaby" by Daniel Elder and "Hush a bye Mountain" best known from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The first was deceptively simple but immensely moving and the second was beguiling with strong solo voices and ending with a dreamlike quality.

And just when you thought it was all over, there was more - in the form of an effervescent medley from "West Side Story" which simply sparkled with life and energy and flowed seamlessly from the fiery wit of "America" through to the achingly beautiful dream of "Somewhere".

Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2016 12:52

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11th June 2016 Giggleswick Concert

Review by Allan Evans, Settle Music:

"Lancaster Singers On Saturday 11th June, a sizeable and appreciative audience welcomed The Lancaster Singers on their first visit to Giggleswick Chapel. The choir performed a concert entitled Across the Pond, featuring music from America, Canada and Britain. Director Duncan Lloyd promised something for everyone and he didn’t disappoint, presenting a varied and balanced programme of popular and lesser known pieces. From the opening bars of Norman Gilbert’s Jubilate Deo the choir filled the space with a glorious sound and demonstrated their versatility by performing pieces either as a full choir (She Walks in Beauty – Mealor and The Bluebird – Stanford) or as a reduced chamber choir (Rise up my love my fair one – Willan and Dirait-on - Lauridsen). With strong and accomplished singers across all sections they executed classical, religious and popular tunes with aplomb and in most instances unaccompanied. Other highlights included Hushabye Mountain (Sherman and Sherman) Sleep (Whitacre) Shenandoah (arranged Erb) and Duncan’s own Just as I am.

Adding to the variety, in each half, accompanist Ian Tate took centre stage and played Four Piano Blues by Aaron Copland. And what better way to finish a delightful evening of transatlantic music than with a choral medley from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, one of the few occasions during the evening when soloists were used to add highlights to the colour and tone of this popular piece. A thoroughly enjoyable evening in the presence of a very talented and skilful group of singers and musicians and we will certainly be looking out for their future concerts.

Allan Evans – Settle Music"

Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2016 12:50

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REVIEW OF CONCERT ON NOVEMBER 21ST 2015

Lancaster Singers / Amici Ensemble St Peter’s Cathedral Lancaster 21 November 2015 "LANCASTER SINGERS CONCERT - A CLASS ACT" 

A truly fine evening of music was given by the Lancaster Singers and the Amici Ensemble in St Peter’s Cathedral on November 21. A programme of music entirely written before 1840 brought a wealth of different styles, textures and choral effects. 

The programme began with Guerrero’s Duo Seraphim, in which the composer imagined two angels were calling to one another. The choir was split left and right at the sides of the church with a semi-chorus of singers placed in the middle. Strong declamatory singing began the piece, followed by interesting melismatic figures echoing from each side. At the climax of the piece all sections swelled to a thrilling sound in which the audience were treated to music in “über-stereo”. 

The choir relocated to the centre of the church for Bach’s motet Singet Dem Herrn and from the outset the choir were confident and assured in their delivery. The first section was bright and lively, with soaring soprano lines and demanding coloratura passages sung with seeming ease. The second, slower section contrasted well and was sung sensitively , though the choir’s tuning suffered in quieter moments. The third section saw continued rhythmically accurate and energised singing lead to a strong finish, echoing through the cathedral for several seconds. 

The Amici ensemble, largely composed of past and present Royal Northern College of Music students, had supported the choir extremely well in both pieces in the concert. They then gave a fine performance of JS Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in which Violin, Recorder, Oboe and Trumpet soloists were on risers above the orchestra. This was the perfect acoustic for this music and it was an excellent performance all-round, especially the intense second movement. Special mention should be given for Mark Harrison’s fine playing of a fiendish trumpet solo. 

The second half of the concert brought a pleasant surprise to much of the audience in Hummel’s Mass in B Flat. While not an especially well known piece, there were many excellent and varied musical moments reminiscent of Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn. The choir and orchestra performed the piece very well, revelling in the changes between the slow and fast, loud and softer movements. The piece ended strongly with the sound of full choir, orchestra brass and timpani echoing marvellously through the Cathedral’s rafters. One felt if Hummel had integrated four soloists into the piece and added an extra movement that this could have become a piece in the standard choral repertory. 

Congratulations, therefore, to Duncan Lloyd for assembling this excellent programme and for arranging the Amici ensemble. Furthermore, his conducting has great energy and commitment and he is at all times engaged with his performers. Notably, Duncan Lloyd has developed the Lancaster Singers into a very fine choral ensemble. Throughout the concert the choir sang assuredly, were very well balanced and were a tight ensemble group. Watch out for future concerts from this groups as they will be well worth attending. 

David Cox 

Last Updated on Monday, 30 November 2015 12:10

Hits: 142

Future Concerts

A Winter Day

Saturday 25th November 2017 7.30 pm, Lancaster Priory

Schutz:     Selig sind die Toten

Quartel:    A Winter Day

Bruch:       Kol Nidrei  (Instrumental for 'Cello and Piano)

Tavener:   Svyati

Duruflé:    Requiem

 


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