Perfect fusion ends strong spring concert

The final concert of this year’s Pennine Spring Music Festival was a solidly classical event featuring works by Mozart and Schubert.

The Magic Flute Overture started the programme. This took a few moments to settle down, but was lively, and grew in stature. Woodwind and brass were particularly strong.

The conductor, Nick Concannon-Hodges continued with Schubert’s masterpiece - the so-called Unfinished Symphony (No.8) which bridges the two great epochs of Western classical and romantic music.

There was a really lush, warm string sound, with charming woodwind melodic phrasing. The cellos perhaps needed a little extra support in their exposed passages. A single double-bass added appreciable sonorous depth.

The contrast between romantic song-based innocence, and gritty dramatic conflict was splendidly realised. The second (and final) movement contained many expressive tender moments.

The second half was taken with the grandeur of Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, conducted with verve by Keith Orrell.

What a magnificent performance!

The choir seemed assured and focused - the flow between orchestral and choral sections appearing quite seamless. The soloists added just the right amount of contrast: the effortless charm of soprano Helen Latham; rich-toned mezzo Helen Gregory; the assertive tenor Paul Smy; and light bass Robert O’Connell.

The augmented orchestral and vocal forces worked together in a perfect fusion of musical excellence.

The festival had come to a truly memorable finale, and the committee is to be congratulated for making all this possible.

Thanks are also due to the many sponsors, including Heptonstall Parish Council and Bearder Charity who have again provided awards to young festival participants, also Arts Council (England) and Calderdale Council for their generous support.