Three Choirs at Worcester

By Webster, Donald | Musical Opinion, Winter 2000 | Go to article overview

Three Choirs at Worcester


Webster, Donald, Musical Opinion


THREE CHOIRS AT WORCESTER

With each new Cathedral Organist a fresh chapter in the annals of the Three Choirs Festival begins, and, subject to inevitable financial constraints, a change of direction is made. Jazz with religious overtones m the form of Stan Tracey's Genesis and Duke Ellington's Heaven in Ordinaire, given in Worcester Cathedral on 21 August by the Three Cathedral Choirs and the Stan Tracey Orchestra, was long in content and strong in decibels. The following day Donald Hunt's lecture Not only Nimrod but also at the Countess of Huntingdon's Hall laid particular stress on Elgar's Enigma music, rather less on its autobiographical elements. In the depth of Hunt's discourse insights were revealed which came as a great surprise even to those of us who know the work well. His lecture was supplemented by an exciting Piano Duo account of the Enigma Variations, in which its substance was expounded almost as potently by Hunt and his partner, Barry Hipkiss, as in the orchestral version, notably in the GRS and CAE Variations. In the latter, a Tristanesque poignancy was given to the glorious climactic cadence. All this bore fruit even more tellingly on 23 August in the Cathedral, where the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra responded magnificently to Hunt's detailed demands.

Seldom can the high notes of Dyson in D have been negotiated with such consummate ease as by the Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir under Stephen Stellard's direction at Evensong on 22 August. The vulgarity of the First Part of Stainer's I saw the Lord, notwithstanding a graphically smoky house, was skilfully subdued, as was the sentimentality of the Second Part.

Later that day the RLPO under Adrian Lucas's direction brought an opulent glow to their accompaiiiment of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs, which I first heard at the 1964 Festival in Hereford. Judith Howarth's singing was eager and ardent, though her scooping and vibrato were occasionally overdone. Orchestra and Organ at opposite ends of the Nave were synchronised beautifully, and the brass, especially the Tuba, rang out sonorously in Berlioz' Te Deum.

The Chorus was well balanced, with excellent blend in all departments, enabling the composers contrapuntal skill to be heard effectively. However, the work's main appeal is physical. Monotony in volume and tempi served only to emphasise a lack of distinction in the thematic writing. Lynton Atkinson was a lachrymose and tremulous tenor soloist.

The Anna Magdalena are a 36-voiced Canadian Girls' Choir, whose careful training and polished performance under Bruce Pullan were evident in their Hunringdon Hall recital on 23 August. Regrettably, one soon became aware of a sameness in style and a superficiality in their expressive range. Moreover, the tone lacked diaphragm support. This was particularly noticeable in their operatic items, and occasionally harshness reared its head, as in Schubert's Standchen, The composer's 4-part setting of the 23rd Psalm was balanced splendidly, with excellent German enunciation and detailed expression.

Later that day David Briggs gave us an appealing, sympathetic account of Poulenc's Stabat Mater, with Emma Silversides as a human, yet deeply spiritual soloist.

This Three Choirs was blessed with some very high quality chamber music concerts. The Florestan Trio's effulgent playing of the Schubert's B Flat major Trio at the Huntingdon Hall on 24 August was outstanding. Rachmaninov's Trio Elegiaque had an almost orchestral ambience, as the conflict between Susan Tomes' pianistic virtuosity pitted against the embattled Anthony Marwood and Richard Lester resolved itself in heroic fashion. Of equal stature was the Brodsky Quartet, who were joined by Catherine Marwood for their concert at Huntingdon Hall on 27 August, which included two of Mozart's magnificent Quintets. K 514 and K 515 are surely among the 18th-Century's supreme masterpieces and harbingers of Schubert. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Three Choirs at Worcester
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.