The audience at the Todmorden Choral Society and HD Brass concert in St Mary’s Church on Saturday last week certainly struck gold.
Under the encouraging direction of Antony Brannick’s baton, we enjoyed a lively and, for variety, occasionally plangent selection of music on the theme of jubilation.
Moreover, the concert included several items featuring the sweet soprano voice of Eleanor Leadbetter who, in the final rousing piece – Purcell’s ‘Come Ye Sons of Art’ – duetted with both her father and mother, Richard and Barbara Pomfret, from the body of the choir.
Peter Conway, Patrick Smith and Anne Boswell all sang solos as well, highlighting the depth of singing talent in the hundred-strong choral society.
The concert opened with the ‘Deus in Adiutorium’ from the beginning of Monteverdi’s Vespers, allowing both choir and brass players to shine.
This was followed by the ensemble on their own with an arrangement by Lawrence Killian of J S Bach’s ‘Bist du Bei Mir’, showing an altogether softer, more reflective side to brass playing.
Eleanor then provided us with a performance of Purcell’s ‘Fairest Isle’, continuing the reflective mood, accompanied by Jenny Sheldon who was busy throughout the evening with support from the keyboard.
The brass group then made their second contribution to the evening, Susato’s ‘Suite for Brass’, a splendid set of six rhythmically energising dances that the players clearly enjoyed as much as the audience.
The first half concluded with a modern rendering of the Jubilate by Bob Chilcott, which provided the choir with a variety of changes of tone, tempo and style which they presented with the nonchalance of a well rehearsed group at ease with their singing.
In addition to the Purcell, the second half offered us a short, bright Jubilate by Benjamin Britten and an exciting eight-part version of the same psalm by Heinrich Schutz, which was sung with both vigour and precision.
An excellent concert, all-in-all, and one Todmorden should be proud to have produced.