• Brighton Festival Chorus, Christmas Concert, The Dome, Sunday, December 8.
For many people this Christmas concert marked the start of the festive season, writes Phil Dennett.
Blending the finesse of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with the grace of two choirs and two good soloists was just the right recipe to sell out the Dome.
What a glorious sound they all made. The Royal Philharmonic had a lot of fun with numbers like Anderson’s so-seasonal Sleigh Ride, and Twelve Days of Christmas, throwing in musical jokes while maintaining the integrity of the music.
Mezzo-soprano Juliette Pochin contributed her own amusing Christmas shopping take on My Favourite Things and a member of the audience got the biggest hand of the afternoon by gleefully conducting the Hallelujah Chorus.
It all created a feel-good mood that inspired some lusty audience singing in traditional carols.
The Brighton Festival Choir and its youth choir were on top form, the youngsters showing great control on meeting the challenges of Betehelemu and Mary had a Baby, with a fine solo on Caresse sur l’Ocean.
Youngsters Chloe, Hannah and Connie (their surnames were not announced) endeared themselves with some enchanting solos that were well appreciated by the audience.
The superb consistency of the senior choir decked the hall with melodies wrapped in layers of gorgeous sound, particularly the moving Lux Aurumque.
For Rutter’s beautiful Candlelight Carol they moved from the lightness of butterflies to the soaring of eagles, helped by some beguiling woodwind. Jesus Christ The Apple Tree was equally delightful.
Baritone Robert Davis, a late replacement for the unwell Trystan Llyr Griffiths, brought suitable gravitas from the Messiah, joining Juliette Pochin for some entertaining duets.
Louise Goodwin on Timpani showed perfect timing in adding any required drama and, like the rest of the orchestra, seemed to be enjoying herself immensely. This was a concert that nicely bottled the Christmas spirit.
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