REVIEW: HIGHGATE CHORAL SOCIETY: All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak

PUBLISHED: 12:35 18 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:14 07 September 2010

Four star rating To find one outstanding piano soloist slipped into the line-up for a north London choral concert would be remarkable enough. Two verges on extravagance. But two there were in Highgate Choral

HIGHGATE CHORAL SOCIETY: All Hallows Church

Four star rating

To find one outstanding piano soloist slipped into the line-up for a north London choral concert would be remarkable enough. Two verges on extravagance.

But two there were in Highgate Choral Society's madly extravagant concert at All Hallows last week.

Veteran Peter Frankl graced the stage for for Beethoven's hybrid Choral Fantasia - a miniature piano concerto with singing.

While the comparatively youthful Stephen de Pledge performed Constant Lambert's maverick, undisciplined but loveable Rio Grande - a miniature cantata with solo keyboard fireworks.

Conducted by Ron Corp and featuring his own New London Orchestra, both performances took full advantage of the aural germolene that is All Hallows' smothering acoustic - but were still exuberant, high energy events.

And both were music-making of the best kind.

The chorus were not invariably note perfect - there were cliff edge moments. But the works were delivered with a spirit and vitality that swept the problems into insignificance.

I was totally engaged by Mary's Song, a new-ish oratorio written by Corp, which sets the text of the Magnificat enlarged by English spiritual poems.

An outrageous piece of freewheeling eclecticism, veering between cinemascopically enlarged Britten and John Rutter at his cheesiest, it was a complete joy - certainly to hear and, I'm sure, to sing.

Exhilarating and grand - Corp does like drum rolls - memorably tuneful, it was done with four good, young vocal soloists.

Watch out particularly for baritone Marcus Farnsworth, who is a star in the making.

It sent me home happy - and you can ask no more.

Michael White

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