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Reviews 2007/08 season
"A night at the movies", Summer 2008
I expected the Market Harborough Choral Society's Summer concert "A Night at the Movies" to be all music from musicals so it was a surprise to be told, (tongue-in-cheek I think!), by their musical director, Anselm Kersten, that as he doesn’t like musicals we would not be hearing music from any! What then could we expect? We got a pick and mix of musical treats.
We heard amazing singing of Oscar winning film music. We heard music by composers as diverse as Handel and Bacharach. We heard gentle peaceful music from films about war, which surprised many of us. Barber's Adagio For Strings from the film "Platoon" could have been sung in a cathedral, and Clare Davies' lovely voice singing "The Deer Hunter" was memorable.
During the choir's singing of Handel’s "And He shall Purify" from "Charlie Wilson's War", you could hear the helicopters, thanks to the guest percussionist Trevor Roach.
There was fun music too, opening with "Let's go to the Movies" from "Annie" - Anselm let one musical in! - and closing with "New York, New York". We had a medley of music from Bond movies, a comedy song "Usherettes Blues" from Charlotta Hickie, a wonderful unaccompanied rendition of "The Way We Were" from a small group within the society, "Waltzing in the Clouds" (with Pauline Rainey beating Deanna Durban at her own game!) and two beautiful arias from Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" from Erika Hall, Janice Doncaster and Lise Moore.
What an evening- and there was plenty more, singers and instrumentalists. The Society's President Phil Gibson (violinist) tore our heart strings with "Schindler's List" and talented young guest, Ben Freestone, on the clarinet and the saxophone, showed just why the Choral Society are sponsoring him as he moves on to Huddersfield University.
The Choral Society had a packed audience for a packed evening of delightful music, and the applause proved how much we appreciated them all.
by Vivien Window
40th Anniversary Concert, 10 November 2007
Market Harborough Choral Society's choice for this concert was perfect for Remembrance Day and certainly proved how far they have come in 40 years of existence. With over 90 choir members and supported by pupils from Kibworth High School, and members of Leicester Symphony Orchestra, their performance of "The Armed Man, a mass for peace", by Karl Jenkins was one of the most moving events I have attended.
All the concert was exceptional. Before the interval Alan Barraclough played Handel's Organ Concerto in G minor and the choir repeated parts of their inaugural performance, 40 years ago, of Handel's "Messiah". However even this great audience pleaser couldn't match the Karl Jenkins's piece for impact.
"The Armed Man" was commissioned for the millennium celebrations and was initially dedicated to the victims of Kosovo. It used sections of traditional mass interspersed with texts from such various sources as Dryden, Swift, Tennyson, Kipling, the Koran, verse written by a Hiroshima victim and, in a particularly harrowing section, the Hindu Mahabharata. This unusual mix gave us a Muslim muezzin's call to prayer followed by the beautiful Kyrie "Lord have mercy". Then Kipling's "Hymn before action" and Dryden's "Charge!" with its terrifying climax of blaring trumpets, crashing drums and agonised screams of dying, was followed by an eerie silence broken by the evocative sound of the lone trumpet playing "The Last Post". The mass began and ended with the use of the marching L'homme Arme tune, but the final words were "Better is peace".
This was not a concert you could nap through! It was thought provoking, unexpected and most of all, beautifully performed. The founder members of the Choral Society in the audience must have been very proud of the society that they began.