Choral’s major challenge as it enters the Tomb
May 2 2008 by Val Javin, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
A MAJOR musical challenge faces Huddersfield Choral Society next week when it sings in the world premiere performance of a new work by Burnley-born composer John Pickard.
The Choral will perform alongside the Orchestra of Opera North, continuing the ever closer relationship between these two leading musical ensembles.
The new piece, Agamemnon’s Tomb, is a setting of part of Sacheverell Sitwell’s 1933 poem. It will be performed in Huddersfield Town Hall next Friday, with Martyn Brabbins conducting.
Pickard, best known for a series of powerful orchestral and instrumental works, mixes the chorus, soloists and the orchestra to create a fantastic setting.
The emotions sensed by the poet are brilliantly embodied by the soloists while the chorus and the orchestra join forces to transmit the splendour of the Tomb.
“It is a kind of requiem, though not in any sense a religious work. Instead it is a meditation on mortality and the memorialising of the dead,” said Pickard.
Next Friday’s performance will feature three highly regarded soloists, soprano Susannah Glanville, tenor Timothy Robinson and baritone Roderick Williams.
Both Susannah Glanville and Roderick Williams perform regularly with Opera North.
Glanville’s last role with the company was as Alice Ford in Verdi’s opera, Falstaff while Williams’s last appearance was as Papageno in Mozart’sThe Magic Flute.
Timothy Robinson, meanwhile, has appeared in concerts throughout the UK and abroad.
Friday’s concert also includes two other major pieces, William Walton’s Coronation Te Deum and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
Walton composed the Te Deum for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The piece is scored for two mixed choruses, two semi-choruses, boys’ voices, organ, orchestra and military brass.
The choir’s division into two halves produce variations of textures and dynamics, turning this splendid work into a masterpiece of ceremonial music.
The final piece in the concert is the Enigma Variations, which made Elgar’s name abroad.
In this great and celebrated set of variations Elgar makes each variation a character study – there are 14 in all – including his own wife and a self-portrait.
It is a programme which should ensure a memorable concert with choir and orchestra in the hands of Martyn Brabbins.
He was associate principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra between 1994 and 2005 and today is much in demand as a recording artist and regularly conducts major UK orchestras.
He had a successful and happy spell as conductor of the Choral and remains its conductor laureate.
There is a pre-concert discussion in the Town Hall at 6.40pm on Friday.
Tickets are £7 to £20.50 (plus concessions) from Kirklees Booking Offices, ticket hotline: 01484 223200. Under-26s can buy tickets for £4.
For details of the full concert season visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/music or call 01484 234000 for a brochure.