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.

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”.