TITLE: Huddersfield Voices
VENUE: Town Hall
BY: David Heathcote
GEORGE Frideric Handel gave the world a gift with his Messiah – a piece that has become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works of our time.
The story is a timely reminder of what we celebrate at Christmas and Handel provided brilliant and powerful music to help us comprehend it. Huddersfield Voices did not rise to the opportunity.
The choir itself is good and showed its strength and power in the opening hymn, Christians Awake, and the Hallelujah Chorus. ‘Let us break their bonds asunder’ was dramatic and well sung in answer to the baritone solo, ‘Why do the nations?’
However, conductor Alan Brierley drove the pace of coloratura choruses beyond the comfort zone of the choir and ‘His yolk is easy’ neither matched the choir’s natural pace nor the meaning of the words. Similarly, Mr Brierley did not give emotional intelligence to the crux of the Messiah story in driving the pace of ‘And with his stripes we are healed’.
The mezzo soprano Kathryn Woodruff was a model of performance experience, creativity and musicality.
Her ‘He was despised’ was superb and showed deep musical and emotional colours that reflected what the world had done.
Simon Lindley responded perfectly with the textures he created from the magnificent Town Hall organ.