15 April 2015 Brahms Requiem

THE spring concert of Richmondshire Choral Society was special for more than one reason. It had been planned by Peter Collis, its musical director, who took ill and died in the autumn.  Fortunately, John Forsyth took over leading the choir and conducted the concert with great verve as a tribute by the choir for his friend.

The choir's popular programme started with four songs by John Rutter, with beautiful melodies which were quite light and in some ways not giving a clue to the headier music that was to come after the interval.

This was A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms. Most requiems have a parallel to the Catholic mass, but not for Brahms. None of your Latin for him. He wanted a mass based on the texts of the Old and New Testaments using a language his people could understand, German.

As a result, each of the seven movements comes across as not religious at all. The choir was supported by two young soloists, Emma Clare Cooke (soprano) and Arthur Bruce (baritone).

All this was bookended by two young performers who were probably the stars of the evening, Alison Gill and Rebecca Topping, playing four hands on the piano. Again a popular programme, Schubert’s Marches Militaire and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, as well as A German Requiem, and what a sound!

A concert grand on full song – wonderful. Their virtuoso playing received the longest applause of the evening.

Ian Stansfield

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