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Choir rises to Handel’s challenge

PUBLISHED: 16:39 14 May 2001 | UPDATED: 15:05 22 October 2010

Judas Maccabaeus @ St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

Judas Maccabaeus @ St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

By CHRISTOPHER SMITH

This complete performance of Merlin Channon's new edition of Judas Maccabaus was a great, if taxing achievement by the Keswick Hall Choir under the inspirational direction of John Aplin.

Seeing God's hand in history when Stuart threats to Protestant England were defeated at Culloden, Handel mirrored in his oratorio the fears and hopes of the times to conclude with songs of praise.

Accompanied on period instruments by the Brook Street Band, the choir negotiated every change of mood with its customary skill. It knew when to speak with unanimity and when to bring out the character of each of the four vocal lines.

The two female soloists were admirable, individually and in duet. The pure clarity of Hedvig Erikson's soprano contrasted with greater richness in Diana Moore's mezzo.

Slight signs of strain did not come amiss in Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks' heroic call to arms.

Colin Campbell was less impressive in the role of Simon.


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