Rarely heard pieces brought to life with skill and accuracy

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Halifax Chamber Choir

Carlton United Reformed Church, Halifax

With the exception of one Belgian work – César Franck’s famous Panis Angelicus – this was a thoughtfully constructed concert of German choral music, which gave ample opportunity to show off the musical skills of this 14-strong chamber choir.

Directed by well-known local contralto Bridget Budge, who provided short useful introductions to each musical item, the choir tackled some rarely heard pieces by Hassler, Reger and Rheinberger – all of which were rendered a cappella (unaccompanied) most competently, with accurate intonation maintained throughout.

Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus and Mendelssohn’s Verleih uns Frieden were notable for some nicely blended harmonies and attention to dynamic detail.

Three motets by Anton Bruckner (Ave Maria, Locus Iste, Christus Factus Est), would usually be performed by a somewhat larger choir than this in order to do them full justice.

However, despite a few occasional pitching problems this was another impressive a cappella performance, with some strong, powerful singing.

The second half consisted of the Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes – a set of 18 short contrasting songs all in waltz time with piano duet accompaniment, although to be fair the two pianists (Jenny Wattis and Hugh Singleton) form an integral part of the song cycle such is their interaction with the various voices.

The individual songs each have their own particular emotive characteristics which were nicely emphasised, with well judged solos from Sue Morris (soprano), David Hedley and Neil Bastow (tenors).

Graham Robbins