Login Register

VIDEO: Spine-tingling effects from Huddersfield Choral Society's Messiah

2015 Messiah takes on a subtly different character

Review by William Marshall

The Huddersfield Choral’s Messiah has more weight of tradition and expectation behind it than almost any other annual performance of the work.

So it is all the more remarkable that it continues to evolve stylistically and seems to take on a subtly different character ever year.

Perhaps this is in the ears of the beholder, but one impression in 2015 is that the account of Messiah conducted by Tecwyn Evans was fairly restrained and introspective, with relatively few roof raising surges of sound from the chorus or moments of high drama from the soloists.

There were plenty of well-judged musical contrasts. A notably reflective rendition of “He was despised” by mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, was met by a particularly full-bodied choral response of “Surely he hath borne our griefs”, and in the succeeding “All we like sheep”, the singers of the Huddersfield Choral turned on a sixpence between the light, bouncy opening statement and the chilling subsequent reflection that “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”.

Huddersfield Choral Society's Messiah at Huddersfield Town Hall. Kathryn Rudge - Mezzo- Soprano.

The soprano soloist was Susanna Andersson, whose tone was attractively pure and penetrating in its upper reaches, with highly musical melismas and touching moments of expression, although enunciation of the text sometimes lacked clarity.

The words were generally very clear from the bass singer Henry Waddington and he executed the furious triplets in “Why do the nations” very tightly.

Huddersfield Choral Society's Messiah at Huddersfield Town Hall.

But the soloist who perhaps made the most telling dramatic impact was the tenor Ed Lyon, who introduced operatic touches into many of his recitatives and airs, right from his opening proclamation of ”Comfort ye”, followed by an account of “Every valley” that had a flashy cadenza and some other vocal roulades of the sort that remind us that Messiah – for all its intense religious exegesis – is essentially a dramatic entertainment. Maybe that dimension was lacking a little bit this year.

Huddersfield Choral Society's Messiah at Huddersfield Town Hall.

Elsewhere, the Choral Society – coached by Darius Battiwalla, who was also the organist – produced its accustomed spine-tingling effects in “Since by men came death” and the Amen chorus procured a rousing audience response.

The band was the Royal Northern Sinfonia, whose status as one of Europe’s leading chamber orchestras was confirmed in this latest collaboration with the Choral. The performance of the Pastoral Symphony had a real touch of nocturnal mystery.



Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent