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Review: The Chapter House Choir, York Minster
The Chapter House Choir purred into fine form with a moving performance of Elgar’s As Torrents In Summer.
The composer’s My Love Dwelt proved to be another choral gem and the choir clearly relished the beautiful sound world – the call and response motif staying long in the memory.
The Chapter House acoustic is so resonant that even the spoken introductions by director Stephen Williams were slightly distorted.
Yet when the choir sang, for example, Stanford’s motets, the fuzziness was replaced by clarity and balance, a real mark of quality. Bob Chilcott’s The Making Of The Drum is ambitious, striking and highly original. It is also extremely well written for voices.
The choir seemed to grow into a piece full of great melodies, punchy bass calls, staccato singing, percussive counterpoint and a truly lovely conclusion which somehow reminded me of Tippett’s The Rose Lake.
R Murray Schafer’s fascinating elemental Chant To Bring Back The Wolf was brimming with a primitive musical energy.
Oddly, this was followed by Victoria’s sublime motet Vidi Speciosam. The part-singing and interweaving of lines was delicious, the tenors a massive bonus to the choir's balance.
The Bob Chilcott commission, Marriage To My Lady Poverty, had a lovely haunted quality with hypnotic ostinato patterns supporting the work’s flowing melodies, the delivery was both poignant and assured.
Also impressive was Andrew Carter’s moving No Man Is An Island. The performance was compelling (the chromatic shifts sung with ease) and the piece really did justice to John Donne’s famous poem.