Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus

MICHAEL DRAKE St Andrew's Hall, Norwich


St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

With not a spare seat in sight, both the orchestra (leader Ben Lowe) and chorus (under the calm conducting of David Dunnett) produced a vivid account of Karl Jenkin's The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, which has become a favourite broadcast piece.

The percussion section in particular had a field day while the singers, although a little light on sopranos, made some emotional pleas. None more so than in the sections of the Latin Mass as the Kyrie and Sanctus, which were given a fine lilt, backed often by African-type rhythms. It is this amalgam of styles that makes the Mass universally acclaimed.

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The piccolo's and snare drum's martial opening marked the beginning of the poignancy that was highlighted in the Charge! section - not one of the most exciting orchestrally or chorally but ending with a beautifully controlled trumpet Last Post.

Earlier, Fiona Hammacott was the soprano soloist in Elgar's less often heard Spirit of England. Over a forthright chorus its patriotism soared. Well-balanced unaccompanied choral work and the soloist's emotional choral singing led to those most feeling of words: “We will remember them”.

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