30 October 2023
The Chorus’ season in Sheffield started with a concert in the beautiful St Mark’s church in Broomhill, singing Durufle’s gorgeous Requiem, composed between 1941 and 1947 and an absolute joy to sing. In the first half they sang Tavener’s hauntingly beautiful Syvati featuring Simon Turner, celebrated cellist with the Hallé, whose sensitive playing was mesmerising – in fact so much so, a few members reported almost forgetting to sing! The first half also featured two world premieres of Sheffield Nocturne from Sheffield musician Robin Morton and Chorus accompanist Rachel Fright, both winners in the Stella Jockel Young Composer Competition in March 2023.
‘It was wonderful to be able to sing two more of the winning compositions from the competition we organised last season, said Chorus Chair Jo Briddock. ‘Both were surprisingly tricky to sing in their different ways – and very beautiful. Hearty congratulations to Robin and Rachel, who seemed to enjoy it as much as we did’
Neil Taylor accompanied the Chorus on the organ for the Durufle Requiem in the second half, with mezzo soprano Maggie McDonald’s beautiful rich tones singing the Pie Jesu. Maggie was most complimentary, saying after the concert. The audience loved it; this comment from former accompanist Nigel Gyte gives a flavour of the general mood: ‘I simply HAD to let you know how much I loved last night’s concert. I thought the programme was fabulous, but it was the ‘sound’ of the chorus which made such an impression on me. What a fantastic acoustical space St Mark’s is, and Darius drew such beautiful singing from everyone, fully exploiting what was possible in the venue. The range of dynamics was extremely impressive. Maggie was wonderful, especially in the climactic moments of her movement. She was beautifully supported by Simon. Neil was absolutely brilliant, as he always is! CONGRATULATIONS to Darius, the SPC and all involved with this super-duper event.’