Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus concerts 2004–05

Saturday October 30th 2004, Sheffield Cathedral

  • Duruflé: Requiem
  • Bach: Harpsichord Concerto no.1 in D minor
  • Dvorák: Serenade for Strings in E

Cari Searle (mezzo soprano), Stephen Wells (baritone)

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

Manchester Camerata, Darius Battiwalla (conductor, harpsichord)

"The ethereality in the Kyrie, repose at Lux Aeterna and sense of tranquility in In Paradisum sounded wonderful." ... "The concert was another triumph for the Phil's music director Darius Battiwalla, not just as conductor but as a dextrously-fingered soloist in Bach's Harpsichord Concerto no.1" Sheffield Telegraph

"...the free-flowing speech like rhythms were handled beautifully, as were the murmuring string and organ accompaniments." ... "What was unexpected were the great surges in sound and emotion that carried one along almost physically, from the overwhelming power of the sopranos and altos (large numbers in a fairly confined space) to the well controlled mezzo-soprano and baritone solos from Cari Searle and Stephen Wells." Yorkshire Post

Monday November 8th 2004, Sage Centre, Newcastle (BBC Studio recording)

  • Holst: The Planets

Ladies of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda

(broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on May 27th 2009)

Saturday December 18th 2004, Firth Hall, Sheffield

  • Christmas Concert

Roger Bingham (compère), Neil Sharp (tenor), Neil Taylor (organ)

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

Darius Battiwalla

Sunday December 19th 2004, Firth Hall, Sheffield

  • Christmas Concert

Roger Bingham (compère), Neil Sharp (tenor), Neil Taylor (organ)

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

Darius Battiwalla

Thursday March 10th 2005, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

  • Mahler: Symphony no.2 (The Resurrection)

Sarah Tynan (soprano), Christianne Stotijn (contralto)

Leeds Festival Chorus, Leeds Philharmonic Chorus

(Members of the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus were invited to join this performance at quite short notice, and about 12 did so.)

Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden

Saturday April 2nd 2005, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

  • Mahler: Symphony no.2 (The Resurrection)

Janice Watson (soprano), Katarina Karneus (contralto)

Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda

(broadcast on BBC Radio 3, April 3rd 2005)

"We arrived at last at the massive finale. The sonic effects, as expected, were rousingly displayed, with portions of the Philharmonic brass, never less than thrilling, strewn round the auditorium. But the best sounds of all emerged from the choirs - the Leeds and Sheffield Philharmonic Choruses - singing with that soft, comforting tone rigorously denied in this symphony before. Then came the last exultation, with choirs, Karnéus, the soprano Janice Watson, and the Hall organ layered over the orchestra, lifting us beyond earthly life to the heart of God." The Times

"...an elevated account..." Sunday Telegraph

"It was given a magnificent performance by the [BBC] Phil under Gianandrea Nosdea, urgency and drama ever to the fore." ... "The combined Leeds Philharmonic and Sheffield Philharmonic choruses made a valiant sound" Manchester Evening News

Saturday April 16th 2005, Sheffield Cathedral

  • Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil (Vespers)
  • Stanford: Three motets
  • Stanford: Three biblical songs; Fantasia and Toccata

Jennifer Westwood (contralto), Neil Sharp (tenor)

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

Darius Battiwalla (conductor, organ)

"What a pleasure to hear classics like Stanford's Three Motets sung without the usual sagging intonation of thin tone where split parts are exposed." ... "In his Vespers, Rachmaninov creates a universe sustained by its own internal logic: the harmonies, the vocal textures, the polyphony (all so different rom the style of his piano concertos), seem there simply because they are right, because that's the way things should be. [...] Magnificent in the massed choral sections and in supporting the full, rich contralto of Jennifer Westwood and the soaring, plaintive tenor of Neil Sharp, the choir's range of expression and dynamics kept the faithful focused."Sheffield Star

"... the Phil's rare outing for Rachmaninov's profound Vespers setting was a considerable achievement. [...] Lasting 60 minutes, the Phil sustained it admirably with fine balance for a big choir, multiple sonorities, unflagging energy, consistent, first attack and impeccable entries (except for a stray tenor in No.2), all of which conductor Darius Battiwalla must take a chunk of credit for.." Sheffield Telegraph

Saturday May 21st 2005, Leeds Town Hall

  • Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem (German Requiem)
  • Schumann: Nachtlied
  • Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

Maureen Braithwaite (soprano), Christopher Purves (baritone)

Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, David Hill

(broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on February 27th 2006 (Schumann), April 11th 2006 (Brahms))

"Saturday's concert, which closed the present season, was also Hill's inaugural appearance with the Leeds Philharmonic Society which was joined by the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus for a commanding performance of Brahms's German Requiem. His sense of architecture and balanced orchestral colour together with his ability to keep the music flowing, so essential with Brahms, made the performance powerful and memorable." ... "The evening opened with Nachtlied, Schumann's short choral song, a delightful rarity and a moving little masterpiece."Yorkshire Post

"...crisp and wounderfully expressive singing that he coaxed from his choir and the splendid Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus... The airy textures in the Requiem's most well-known number, the consoling 'How lovely are thy dwellings fair' were a revelation. So too were the looks of enjoyment on the faces of the choirs as they sang it ."Leeds Town Hall

Saturday June 11th 2005, Lincoln Cathedral

  • Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil (Vespers)
  • Stanford: Three motets
  • Stanford: Three biblical songs; Fantasia and Toccata

Jennifer Westwood (contralto), Neil Sharp (tenor)

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

Darius Battiwalla (conductor, organ)