Thumbs up from Sir Karl Jenkins
“The best performance we have done of Karl Jenkin’s music”, “fantastic”, “exciting” – these were comments from the Chorale and audience alike. The Chorale was bolstered once again by some very competent guest singers that we invite to sing with us for the Bridgewater concerts. The sound we made was glorious and clearly impressed composer/conductor Sir Karl.
In the first half, we sang The Healer: a Cantata for St. Luke. Some of the tunes and phrases are still stuck in this writer’s head – an ‘earworm’ is a clear indication that the composer has a knack of writing good melodies, dare one say ‘catchy’. Not a man for extravagant gestures, Sir Karl gave us a nod and a single thumbs-up at the end – he liked our performance.
The Requiem was the main work of the afternoon and this would be very familiar to most of the 2000-plus audience. It’s a work of very varied moods and emotions: from the driving ‘Dies Irae’; to the peaceful, calm Japanese haikus that the Chorale’s ladies sang beautifully; to the final ‘In Paradisum’, which disappeared into nothing with every chorister’s eye on Sir Karl’s baton. A double thumbs-up from the conductor to us before he turned to take his bow and we knew we had pleased him.
Even though we had a rehearsal with Sir Karl and the Manchester Concert Orchestra on the day, most of our work for the concert had been done in advance. We had a day’s workshop in Stockport Grammar School, as well as several evening rehearsals dedicated to perfecting the pieces.
At the start of the concert, Chorale Chairman John Eaden addressed the audience and dedicated the concert to the memory of Michael Carter, a sorely missed second bass for over 30 years with the Chorale, who passed away recently.