Grand concert ends a season
Malvern Festival Chorus recently brought their 2016/17 Season of Feasts to a grand finale with their concert at Malvern Theatres.
And they were joined in song by members of the London-based 1885 Singers and their conductor, Alison Hunka.
A spokesman said: "A near-capacity and highly appreciative audience heard a rousing performance of Walton’s intensely vivid Belshazzar’s Feast conducted by MFC’s Director of Music, Richard Knight, accompanied by a 49-piece orchestra of the Regency Sinfonia, with professional baritone soloist Stewart Kempster. The work moves from the darkness of the lamenting Israelite slaves, through the great feast of the Babylonians, to the light of the freed slaves’ exuberance as they praise God for their freedom."
The spokesman added: "The first half of the concert featured Richard Knight’s own compositions, ‘Immortality’ for choir and ‘Ebb’ for 3 soloists and chamber orchestra; fine examples of descriptive words expressed by atmospheric music. The idea of ‘immortality' led into the ‘ebb and flow’ of a dying woman’s thoughts. The libretti by Robert G Ingersoll and Norman Welch were movingly expressed by the haunting music, with performances by Alexandra Tiffin, Kevin Ilsley and Stewart Kempster fusing together the lament of the young woman, the words of wisdom from her father, and the Latin mass sung by her uncle, a priest.
"Two more familiar pieces, conducted by Alison Hunka, completed the programme: Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves which set the scene for the concert and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance no 5, which opened the second half."
The concert was supported by the Elmley Foundation.
Gary Bills-Geddes - Malvern Gazette, 30 June 2017
Come and Sing a Feast of Music - Saturday 11 February 2017
If Music be the Food of Love….
More than 180 singers came together in Great Malvern Priory on Saturday 11 February for a Feast of choral singing.
Hosted by Malvern Festival Chorus and their conductor, Richard Knight, the programme featured Hallelujah choruses by both Handel and Beethoven as well as much-loved choruses by Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, Faure and Rossini. A fun addition to the programme was a round, “Square Meals”, composed by Richard for the event.
It was this appetising programme that attracted around 85 guest singers, from across the county and beyond, to the Come & Sing workshop. Morning and afternoon rehearsals were followed by tea with home-made cakes and a short evening concert. The audience were treated to the fruits of the practising and Richard Knight said afterwards:
'The MFC Come and Sing Day was great fun: lots of rousing singing of choral classics, fuelled by lots of tea and cake; what better way to deal with a cold February day? It was a brilliant example of what participating in music-making can do for a sense of community'
Members of Malvern Festival Chorus enjoyed the day so much that they are requesting another similar event in the near future. Judging from feedback from visiting singers, they could expect another enthusiastic response from non-members too. Here is an example of the comments they made:
‘I would like to record my thanks to you all at Malvern Festival Chorus for a very happy and stimulating day at Come and Sing. Thank you to your conductor Richard for his energy and encouragement, and to all whose enthusiasm and hard work made the day such a success.’ - Christine Wells
Malvern Festival Chorus’s next concert will be Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast in Malvern Theatres on 24 June. The choir always welcomes new singers. Contact Viv Austen on 07989 093990 or click here for more information.
Malvern Festival Chorus - Saturday 12th March, 2016
Malvern Theatre was the setting for a performance by Malvern Festival Chorus of ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ by C.H.H. Parry and Sir Edward Elgar’s ‘The Music Makers’.
Under their Musical Director, Richard Knight, the chorus were in fine voice, and did justice to both works. Where better to perform Sir Edward Elgar’s music than in Malvern, where the hills did so much to mould and inspire him? The work quotes a number of well-known themes from other pieces of his music and the love of his music really shone through in the performance.
In addition to the solos in ‘The Music Makers’, Janet Shell delighted the audience with her warm expressive singing of ‘ Les nuits d’été’, a cycle of 6 songs by Hector Berlioz.
The Regency Sinfonia as always supported the soloist and chorus well, if perhaps a little too loudly at times, as is often the case with a large orchestra.
Malvern Gazette, 18 March 2016
Tango In Malvern! - Saturday 13th June, 2015
Who would have thought that Malvern could be a centre for Argentinian tango? I've loved the music and the dance since I took a few classes when I was living in London quite a few years ago now, so I was intrigued to see the programme for last Saturday's concert by Malvern Festival Chorus. Their new conductor Richard Knight is passionate about South America and also a composer, and his lovely La Vida de Tango opened the concert, followed by some numbers from Tango Siempre, a four-piece band brought from London. Dancers from Tango Malvern took to the aisles of Malvern Priory to demonstrate the sultry steps of the tango and milonga.
The UK premiere of the Misa a Buenos Aires by Martin Palmeri formed the second half of the concert - this is a great piece, and should be performed by more choral societies!
There are a couple of recordings on YouTube including this one ...
Review by Jill Davies http://www.severnmuses.net
A Night for Nostalgia
Iain Sloan’s first concert directing Malvern Festival Chorus on November 19, 2000 consisted of an all-Mozart programme including the great Requiem. For his final concert before his retirement, A Night for Nostalgia at The Forum on Saturday, June 14, he chose another all-Mozart programme, including again the Requiem, plus the Solemn Vespers and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, with two of the soloists having also sung in the earlier event. And so at the end there were many tearful eyes on both sides of the platform remembering the fourteen years and over forty shared concerts.
Perhaps there have been rather too few new recruits during that period so the Chorus is rather less youthfully balanced than it should be but Richard Knight, who takes over, will find a well-drilled group who love their rehearsals as well as their concerts. Iain has always been noted for his attention to detail and meticulous learning of the notes and this was as well in evidence at this concert as always.
His soloists were a familiar team who have often appeared with the Festival Chorus, Susan Black – also their President – Vanessa Williamson, Stephen Davis and Niall Hoskin, and they too gave their all for this special occasion. Of particular note were Susan's solo in the quite gorgeous Laudate Dominum in the Vespers and Iain and Stephen swapping conductor and soloist places in the quartet movement of the Requiem; Iain, as well as a conductor is a noted tenor. As ever the Regency Sinfonia, led by Steve McDade, gave sterling support on the most minimum of rehearsal time.
At the end Sue Black made a speech of thanks, a painting by a choir member, Robin Peers, and bouquets were presented, lots of photos were taken and there was bonhomie all round. May the next conductor have as much success.
Review by Ernie Kay - Malvern Gazette, 20 June 2014