What they said…

  • Benjamin Britten composed his War Requiem (1961-62) in a spirit of reconciliation to mark the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral. In this vast work, Britten sets movements of the Latin Mass for soprano, choir and large orchestra and he juxtaposes them with settings of Wilfred Owen’s First World War poems. These are sung in English by tenor and baritone soloists accompanied by a chamber ensemble. The resulting kaleidoscopic soundscape speaks directly to the listener. John Pritchard conducted huge forces for the first Leeds performance of the War Requiem at the 1964 Triennial Musical Festival. On that auspicious occasion, the 300-strong Festival Chorus was joined in Leeds Town Hall by soloists Heather Harper, William McAlpine and Hans Wilbrink with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Melos chamber ensemble and boy choristers from York Minster and Leeds Parish Church. Last Saturday’s incandescent performance, conducted by Simon Wright, was given by today’s slimmed down and fine-tuned Festival Chorus of 130 singers together with the superb City of Glasgow Chorus and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. The combined choirs of over 200 voices sang with incredible precision, warmth and clarity. Their unaccompanied Kyrie eleison was a sublime blend of lovely phrasing and well nigh perfect intonation. The spine tingling attack of the tenors and basses in the Dies Irae pinned me to my seat. Soprano Evalina Dobraceva effortlessly soared against a backdrop of gamelan chimes at the opening of Britten’s brilliant setting of the Sanctus and she conveyed a steely anguish in the exquisite Lacrimosa. Out of sight of the audience, the Cantabile Chamber Choir from Wakefield Girls High School sang with warmth and ethereal expression. My sense though, is that the composer preferred the icy tonal purity of boys voices for his War Requiem. Tenor Joshua Ellicott and baritone Benjamin Appl’s superb articulation of the Wilfred Owen poems was underpinned by the chamber ensemble’s delicate brushstrokes of atmospheric instrumental colour. Appl’s heartrending declamation of Strange Meeting, Owen’s most powerful poem, led inexorably to the serenely beautiful epilogue in which Britten combines all of his forces with great restraint. After a hushed Amen, ten precious seconds of silence were broken by a deluge of applause for an unforgettable experience.

    Ilkley Gazette
  • I just wanted to say that it was a privilege to be part of that concert last night. What a memorable experience! That programme will go down as one of my best concert experiences ever. Thank you so much.

    Chorus member
  • We would like to thank you for making our wedding ceremony extra special. Everyone was blown away by the choir and numerous people told us they were moved to tears when you sang 'Ave Maria'. Apart from marrying each other, we both agree that our favourite aspect of the day was the choir.

    Bride and groom
  • The City of Glasgow Chorus never fails to amaze me as year after year it reaches new heights and this was certainly the case last Sunday. Four of my five guests had not been to one of your concerts before and they were truly amazed at the choir's very high standard.

    Audience member
  • Saturday night was another triumph for the City of Glasgow Chorus which seems to go from strength to strength.

    Audience member
  • I love singing with the City of Glasgow Chorus they are a force to be reckoned with! One of the best choirs in Scotland.

    Guest soloist
  • Graham Taylor … had clearly, and thoroughly, prepared his chorus for the Requiem, which had real depth, real weight, and, above all, genuine profundity.

    The Herald, Glasgow
  • The chorus brought extra sparkle to an already magical performance of The Sound Of Music … and reinforced the revolutionary fervour of the stirring ensemble number, Do You Hear The People Sing, from Les Miserables.

    The Herald, Glasgow
  • The chorus was remarkable for its clarity and diction and the fugal sections were extremely effective … they excelled too in some of the very quiet passages, which were clear and expressive.

    The Herald, Glasgow
  • I always dreamed of working with such powerful mortals like you and your choir and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. You are terrific artists and terrific musicians.

    Bartosz Zurakowski, Guest Conductor.
  • The choir were magnificent last night. A night where everything gelled and the magic happened. This concert will go down in my memory as one of the highlights of my career.

    Guest soloist.
  • What a fantastic performance … spine-tingling, electrifying, on a level I’ve not heard from a choir for many years.

    Audience member.
  • I honestly can’t find words to explain how much I enjoyed the evening. It was one of the wonderful musical experiences that will remain with me for many years. The choir, the soloists, the conductor were all amazing.

    Audience member.
  • … this is a reflection of Graham (Taylor)’s commitment to the choir and the way that he gets the most out of people by getting the right balance between discipline and enjoyment.

    Guest chorus member.
  • Excellent relationship between chorus and chorus master.

    Guest chorus member.
  • A very happy chorus; very welcoming to deputies; know how to have fun and totally committed to performing to the highest standards.

    Guest chorus member.
  • That was the most moving, dramatic, exciting performance!

    Chorus member.
  • Thank you so much not only for making nights like this happen … but for continuing to make nights like these happen year after year. The sheer joy, passion and exhilaration of concerts with the Chorus remains, for me, as strong as ever.

    Chorus member.
  • One of the greatest nights of music I’ve ever been privileged enough to participate in.

    Chorus member.

© The City of Glasgow Chorus Trust 2014. All rights reserved. Registered Scottish Charity #SC004791.
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