Huddersfield Choral Society transformed a traditional Christmas programme with the brilliant musical arrangements of their own maestri, Joseph Cullen, Darius Battiwalla and Jonathan Brigg, writes David Heathcote.
Cullen’s divine choral harmonies in Silent Night reflect mystery and stillness.
Battiwalla’s arrangement for band is sensitive, with elements of the upper brass echoing the moment almost 99 years ago when soldiers in the German trenches sang Stille Nacht during the Christmas truce.
Battiwalla’s arrangement of O Holy Night for choir and band is magnificent and Huddersfield Choral Society and Black Dyke Band were the ideal team to deliver its majesty.
Jonathan Brigg’s arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo is interesting and complex, whilst musically unsettling in the opening phrases. But mixed language in the lyrics reflects different peoples saying a similar thing and Brigg takes this to another level, providing an image of many distant cities in simultaneous rejoicing.
Dr Lindley is a highly entertaining presenter and gave the audience fascinating insights of the music that unites the world at Christmas time. His performance of the 12 Days of Christmas was hilarious!
Huddersfield Choral Society sang with great delicacy in the Rutter pieces and the altos were particularly expressive in Simon Lindley’s Ave Maria.
Throughout the concert, though, the sopranos sang with less resonance.
This was particularly evident when the richer quality of the men’s voices responded to their phrases.
Phillip Harper’s arrangement of Little Drummer Boy unapologetically mirrors Ravel’s Bolero. As in all their pieces, Black Dyke Band took this opportunity to demonstrate why they remain the stars at the top of their tree.