With their principal conductor Dr John Hearne currently on sabbatical, the Stonehaven Chorus invited back Ralph Jamieson.
One of their most popular conductors, he is presently assistant conductor, and he agreed to lead their Spring Concert entitled “Cantatas and Anthems for life”.
The Chorus was on fine form, pouring forth the joyous and exuberant praise of the opening section of John Rutter’s three-movement Gloria. They were reinforced in this by a top-notch 12-man brass ensemble along with expert percussionists Isobel John and Chris Overton. Arthur Balfour was equally impressive on organ. The clarity of diction from the chorus was particularly impressive.
In the second movement, Domine Deus marked Andante the singing was more gentle yet expansive supported by an almost birdlike organ part and warm brass. Timpani and glockenspiel added zest to the climax of the movement. In the finale marked Vivace e ritmaco side drum and xylophone added bite while the chorus once again seized the intiative with the sizzle and celebratory drive of the music. “Dances to Life” is an equally joyous three part piece by Mark Wilberg, choral composer and conductor of the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Before each of the three settings of words by David Warner, Margaret Hearne gave a clear reading of the texts of the three poems. Piano duet accompaniment by Drew Tulloch and Arhtur Balfour was enhanced by the subtlest use of tuned percussion. Here too the singing especially by the female voices radiated energy and enthusiasm. The final choral work was radically different. Sorrow and anger are the emotions that drive Zoltan Kodaly’s Psalmus Hungaricus. Originally scored for full orchestra, chorus and tenor soloist this version combining brass and organ worked remarkably well. The brass ensemble was tremendous throughout the performance.