Three Choirs Concert

TONY COOPER Snape Maltings

TONY COOPER

> Snape Maltings

Choirs representing three different choral traditions combined for this concert introduced by writer and broadcaster Humphrey Burton, whose eloquent style and enthusiasm made him the perfect master of ceremonies.

The Eye Bach Choir, conducted by Norwich-based Margery Baker, opened with devotional music by Bach, Tippett, Poulenc and Rachmaninov. Mature and polished, they gave a moving account of Bach's Chorale Jesu, Priceless Treasure and introduced a touch of Russian Orthodox exoticism with extracts from Rachmaninov's Vespers.

Ably directed by David Bramhall, the Ipswich award-winning Harmony Girls' Choir contributed eight contrasting pieces, ranging from Bulgarian folk song to Vaughan Williams, and ending with two songs from the musical Godspell.

Splendidly accompanied by Jenny Eason, their well-drilled, fresh voices were fine ambassadors for the many impressive youth choirs that have burgeoned in recent years.

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Choros Amici (choir of friends) opened the second half, their charismatic conductor, Chris Mallinson, injecting a strong sense of theatre into the proceedings.

This hand-picked group of 24 singers gave a virtuoso programme of 20th-century music, often of amazing complexity, all sung with tremendous attack, dynamic range and total technical assurance.

The audience particularly loved two fun-and-nonsense pieces by Finnish composer, Jaako Mantyjarvi.

Discreetly choreographed throughout, it was easy to see how they won the coveted Sainsbury Choir of the Year Award in 2000.

Both Harmony Girls' Choir and Choros Amici must be complimented,

incidentally, on singing their programmes entirely from memory.

Finally, the three choirs came together in a selection that included South African and Macedonian folk music.

All three conductors took a share in

directing individual numbers and Margery Baker brought the concert to a close with a rousing account of the Easter Hymn from Mascagni's opera Cavalleria Rusticana.

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