Saturday March 18  2017

Otley & Ilkley Choral Societies

Otley Parish Church

OTLEY and Ilkley Choral Societies joined together to perform items by Gabriel Fauré and Howard Goodall in Otley Parish Church, and they did so in style. To a packed audience they sang the Fauré Requiem and the Cantique de Jean Racine followed by Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: a Requiem.

The opening of the Fauré Requiem sets the scene with the Kyrie being soft and empathetic to the theme. The choirs performed admirably throughout, with good tone, diction and accurate phrasing. The opening item needed a little less volume from the organ, to give the beginning the tenderness it requires.

The Soprano soloist for the evening was Juliet Montgomery who sang the Pie Jesu with good style and confidence. The baritone soloist Stuart Orme was in fine voice and his Libera Me was splendidly performed with his warm mellow tone. The In Paradisum was sympathetically rendered with well flowing lines and accurate Latin words. A fitting performance was well received by the audience.

The Cantique de Jean Racine was accompanied by organist Robert Sudall and pianist Pat Jordan and the whole piece was sung and played with real feeling, an important factor for this well-loved item.

Howard Goodall is a contemporary composer perhaps better known for his theme for The Vicar of Dibley but his Eternal Light: a Requiem was a delight. It was first performed in 2008 in the Lowry, Salford.

Soloist Juliet Montgomery sang Close Thine Eyes exceptionally well and her diction was clear and precise. Similarly Stuart Orme gave a thoughtful and moving rendition particularly in the Lacrymosa – Do not stand at my grave and weep. The Revelation – Factum est silentium is a very tricky piece which the chorus, under the baton of Barry Jordan, rose to the task of quick tempo and Latin words, real tongue twisters, with aplomb. Well done choir and choirmaster.

One of the highlights of the evening was the Litany - Belief. Stuart Orme really did excel with superb tonal quality and diction. The words speak for themselves 'I have to believe that you still exist somewhere'. Together with In Flanders Fields the Poppies Blow it truly was a moving evening. The prolonged applause by the audience was shared by everyone.

The whole performance was a fitting tribute to Barry Jordan conductor and Pat Jordan pianist, for their service to their local Choral Societies.

Blanche Woollin