Brighton’s Youth Celebrate Sir John Taverner

- May 19, 2014

How heartening it was to see so many young citizens, and I choose that word as a mark of merit, who are prepared to invest in time spent in lessons, practice, rehearsals and performance. These citizens are the future of great musical performance in years to come. And what great musical performances they gave us. Brighton Youth Orchestra are an accomplished band of fine musicians who certainly delivered an exacting programme of work, starting with a moving ‘Mother of God Here I Stand’ by Taverner, travelling through a ripping performance of ‘Suite No.2 in B Minor’ by JS Bach with breathtaking solo virtuoso recorder from 18-year-old Charlotte Barbour-Cordini, and culminating in a stirring performance of Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’.

But, for me, it was the Taverner that held me and moved me. ‘The Song for Athene’, ‘The Lamb’ and ‘Ekstasis’, written for them by Taverner, were all beautifully sung by Brighton Festival Youth Choir. ‘Ekstasis’ splits the orchestra into three bands, each with a soloist, and the music shifts like ebbing and rising tides to wonderful effect in the huge acoustic of St Bartholomew’s Church. Conductor Andrew Sherwood masterfully moved the work forward; no mean feat with such complexity and such a large space. For me the highlight was ‘Prayer For Jerusalem’, Taverner at his best, hauntingly beautiful and bringing out the very best of both choir and orchestra. Excellence throughout made this a real Festival highlight.

St Bartholomew’s Church, 18 May 2014
Rating: ★★★★★
Andrew Kay


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