‘Yorkshire Voices’ admirably rise to the challenge of Missa Solemnis

REVIEW OF BEETHOVEN MISSA SOLEMNIS IN LEEDS TOWN HALL ON SATURDAY JUNE 11 2016 YORKSHIRE VOICES and MANCHESTER CAMERATA Beethoven’ s Missa Solemnis is a big sing for any choral society but the combined forces of Harrogate Choral Society and Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir rose to the challenge admirably with their performance in Leeds Town Hall last Saturday, June 11th. Andrew Padmore, their conductor, had prepared both choirs thoroughly both technically and musically with confident entries and the high tessitura and full sound required for much of the work was achieved well and without loss of tuning or vocal tiring for much of the evening. The attention to the dynamic shaping was impressive with such large forces, maintaining a buoyant tone quality and with the changes in pace mostly secure with clear direction from the conductor. The articulation of the fugal section in the second movement was particularly well observed, rhythmical and clear. The orchestra, Manchester Camerata, supported the singing with fine phrasing throughout and particularly lovely violin solo playing by Caroline Pether in the Benedictus. The balance between orchestra and choir was for the most part, well matched, and it was only in the very loudest moments when the organ and orchestra were together that the choir became a little overpowered. Of the soloists, Sarah Fox (soprano) floated her voice in the upper register with ease, Melanie Marshall (Mezzo) gave us a warm toned and fluid line throughout, and the bass, David Soar, some dark and sonorous sounds. The tenor soloist, Ben Thapa, sang with some full tone if a rather uneven line. The concert began with a performance... read more

‘Yorkshire Voices’ will be raised again after a 7 year wait….

Yorkshire Voices – Missa Solemnis – Leeds Town Hall – 11 June 2016, 7.00 pm. In 2008, two of the finest choirs in the North of England, namely ‘The Harrogate Choral Society’ and ‘The Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir’ set aside their rivalries and came together to form ‘Yorkshire Voices’. In a memorable night in Leeds Town Hall they performed the towering masterpiece which is Verdi’s Requiem. So successful was this partnership that they followed it up a year later, to great acclaim, with Sir Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’ and David Fanshawe’s idiosyncratic ‘African Sanctus’. Having individually gone from strength to strength in the ensuing period, the two choirs will combine again as ‘Yorkshire Voices’ on 11th June 2016, in Leeds Town Hall to present Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis’. The Missa Solemnis is generally considered one of the composer’s supreme achievements and stands alongside Bach’s B Minor Mass as one of the most significant settings. It requires a quartet of impressive soloists, a substantial chorus and a full orchestra. The work is physically and technically exacting and requires virtuosity of each participating element. The difficulty of the piece combined with the resources required, means it is not often performed by amateur or semi-professional ensembles. Not surprising then that it is over 13 years since a performance of this work has been presented in Leeds Town Hall. That, however, is about to change, the challenge has been accepted by ‘Yorkshire Voices’ with the Manchester Camarata and soloists – Sarah Fox (Soprano), Melanie Marshall (Mezzo), Ben Thapa (Tenor) & David Soar (Bass) all under the masterful baton of Dr Andrew Padmore, who is... read more

YPC and LCoM ‘Swing to the same beat’

Absolutely Buzzin’   Not necessarily a usual comment following a classical music concert, but the Partnership Concert between The YPC and Leeds College of Music on Saturday 19th March in The Venue, Leeds, was no ordinary Classical concert, in fact it featured the best of what could be termed Choral Jazz. The first half began with Bob Chilcott’s little jewel of the genre ‘A Little Jazz Mass’ with the choir masterfully negotiating the 7 swift movements, each with its own distinct style. A Jazz trio featuring Tom Moore on piano with LCoM musicians Will Stockbridge (bass) and Josh Smout (drums) provided the accompaniment, which sometimes needs a real drive and groove whilst other a soft bluesy feel, which they provided to perfection, getting the evening of to a fabulous start. The remainder of the first half showcased the LCoM current undergraduate musicians in 2 Jazz combos fronted by two young singers who are surely destined for a bright future, Alzbeta Turcanyiova and Jemma Freese. In two distinctive vocal styles they presented four works: Lush Life by Billy Strayhorn Nostalgia for Times Square by Charles Mingus Blue in Green by Bill Evans Berfsha Swing by Thelonius Monk Accompanied by Will and Josh plus the added talents of Joe Boyes on piano these were received with the traditional ‘whoops and cheers’ as well as sustained applause from a captivated audience. The second half featured just one ‘tour de force’ – Will Todd’s ‘Mass in Blue’ with the choir being joined by the LCoM Jazz band and the vocal expertise of Laura Barnes. This work is a test for any combination but... read more

YPC & LCoM in Partnership – 19th March 2016

The YPC’s next concert, is on Saturday 19th March 2016 at 7.00pm in ‘The Venue’, Leeds and is a Partnership Concert with the Leeds College of Music (LCoM). The choir is proud of its ongoing partnership with the LCoM, where it annually sponsors the Margaret Markland Choral Bursary. This allows 3 students from one of the College’s Musical Pathways, who are successful through audition, to become members of the choir and to experience Choral music at it’s highest level. This includes experiencing, the discipline of rehearsal under professional direction,   the enjoyment and satisfaction of working alongside other like minded individuals in a way only being a member of a choir can give, the exhilaration of high quality performance with professional soloists and orchestras in superb venues and the opportunity to undertake solo works within the choir. Winning this bursary gives the successful students an excellent CV reference for when they enter the professional musical world and is proving an excellent recruiting point for previous winners of the bursary as they begin their performing careers. In celebration of this and the Partnership’s general success, YPC & LCoM will present a Jazz and modern music programme which will feature the YPC performing the ever popular ‘Mass in Blue’ by Will Todd, accompanied by the LCoM Jazz Band and featuring the marvellous voice and stage presence of Laura Barnes (a former LCoM student and Margaret Markland Bursary winner, now making her own successful way as a soloist). The programme also includes ‘A Little Jazz Mass’ by Bob Chilcott, accompanied by Jazz Trio. The remainder of the programme will feature and the very best of the... read more

Where to find us on Saturday

Hello everyone, As you may have realised, our concert this weekend is not at Wakefield Cathedral but is, in fact, at Unity Works.   The address is Westgate, Wakefield, WF1 1EP. For or those of you not familiar with Wakefield, please see the below map for location details. If you can’t see the map, please click this link: https://goo.gl/maps/gcMZMAXfCKS2 Dont forget it’s a 7pm start!... read more

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