Elegant energy from choir and orchestra
UEA Choir and Orchestra @ St Andrew's Hall, Norwich.
Uea Choir and Orchestra @ St Andrew's Hall, Norwich
By Christopher Smith
Petite but energetic, elegant in a black silk suit and with her mass of dark hair, Sharon Choa drew high octane performances from the UEA Symphony Orchestra (led by Dominic Hopkins) and the UEA Choir (trained by John Aplin) in a programme of 20th century music that was dedicated to the memory of Lawrence Leonard.
The first section of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms caught a feeling of relentless drive in the presentation of the stern theme. This contrasted with interweaving woodwind patterns mirroring human perplexities, which in turn gave way to the celebratory finale. Some coarseness from the heavy brass did not detract too much from an interpretation full of carefully judged nuance.
Clarity was the great virtue of Copland's Appalachian Spring in the arrangement for 13 instruments that the composer eventually decided best conveyed his intentions.
With Meg Starling as the soprano soloist, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, in Hebrew, made an uplifting conclusion ablaze with instrumental colour and vocal vigour.