Review: Keswick Hall Choir, United Reformed Church, Norwich

The United Reformed Church on Princes Street in Norwich.

The United Reformed Church on Princes Street in Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Christopher Smith enjoys a 'delightful' Keswick Hall Choir concert.

Christopher Duarte's Keswick Hall Choir was in grand form at Princes Street United Reformed Church, Norwich, on Saturday evening. In a technically demanding, yet immediately attractive programme of unaccompanied music they explored how composers from Russia, Poland and the Baltic republics have interpreted deeply felt religious texts in recent decades.

Excerpts from Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil were reminders of his development of traditional chant in earlier times. Though his influence has remained powerful, a more modern generation has chosen its own way. Dubra's Magnificat was effervescent, almost jaunty, and Esenvalds' Stars unexpectedly gave significance to a flimsy lyric by the American poet Sara Teasdale.

Part and Schnittke were more austere, almost tight-lipped, strikingly releasing pent-up emotion at the end. The singers' crisp and alert performances of these pieces gave us a rare opportunity to hear much that was highly original and quite delightful.

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