There were few empty seats as music enthusiasts gathered at St Andrews Church to enjoy Arbroath Choral Society’s spring concert.
On Sunday, musical director Jane Miller had, as ever, put together an uplifting assortment of the finest music relating to Lent and Easter.
The talented and enthusiastic 32-piece orchestra led by Jane Illes Brooksbank joined with the 56-strong choir who sang fervently and with passion, maintaining just the right balance between the vocal and instrumental contributions under Jane Miller’s direction.
The evening began with Faure’s inspirational ‘Requiem’ starting with the resounding ‘Kyrie’.
Moving on to the second movement, baritone soloist Duncan Hunter sang the ‘Offertorium’ accompanied on the organ by Alison Hart who is also the rehearsal accompanist. Duncan’s dramatic, powerful voice is filled with emotion.
Following the ‘Sanctus,’ soprano soloist Elaine Taylor sang the exquisite ‘Pie Jesu’ beautifully, her sublime voice flawless, soothing and touching.
Duncan’s second baritone solo, ‘Deliver me, oh Lord’ from the sixth movement, ‘Liberia,’ made the best use of his big voice and flawless diction.
Following a short interval, the second half of the programme consisted of three popular works.
Sir Hubert Parry’s ‘I was Glad’ has been sung at every Coronation since Edward V11’s in 1902 and was the bride’s processional music at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The choir and orchestra gave a stirring rendition of this piece.
It was followed by Verdi’s ‘Requiem.’ The Italian opera composer was also a politician and a landowner who returned to music in later life with his opera ‘Aida’ and three years afterwards his ‘Requiem.’ The operatic qualities of the music were given full rein.
The evening finished with Parry’s ‘Blest Pair of Sirens,’ a setting of Milton’s poem that celebrates the conjunction of music and poetry – the two blessed sirens. This work was given its broad dramatic variations of tone and volume as a fitting finale to the evening.
Congratulations to everyone involved with the Arbroath Choral Society in putting on another glorious concert, a further highpoint in the Arbroath musical calendar.
Next year is a very special year for the Choral Society. Jane and Ken Miller formed the choir 40 years ago which makes the 40th anniversary concert particularly special for the choir. The programme has already been put together and will be the exciting and enjoyable.