Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

‘Twas the week before Christmas 1 – The Christmas Cracker (18 December 2011)

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Sunday evening and a trip to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for a concert. The Christmas Cracker was presented by The City of Glasgow Chorus and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

Introduced and conducted by Graham Taylor, programme was a varied mixed of seasonal and other music.

The first half started with A Christmas Fantasy by Gordon Langford, and In the Bleak Midwinter by Harold Darke. Darke caught my attention for two reasons, firstly was verses one and three were sung by the sopranos as opposed to the usual solo voices. The unaccompanied singing was precise, however my attention was distracted by one of the first violin players fidgeting, whilst his colleagues around him we still.

Next came two choral pieces by Mr Christmas Carol – John Rutter. His Angel Carol and Jesus Child. The audience were given their first chance to sing with Hark! the Herald Angels Sing complete with the David Willcocks descant.

Interspersed through the concert, Graham Taylor (founder of the City of Glasgow Chorus), introduced the items, with a few anecdotes (well corny jokes). The first half finished with Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival.

During the interval, Christmas Crackers were distributed. After the first two pieces of the second half Charles Williams’ Girls in Grey and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, it was cracker pulling time.

After the Star Wars theme by John Williams, there was a medley of pieces from films by the recently deceased John Barry, including Out of Africa, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Goldfinger. Not my favourite part of the concert. The choral work from Out of Africa did not really enthuse me.

Turning to another John Rutter christmas work – his arrangement of The Twelve Days of Christmas, Graham split the audience into five sections and got use to each stand and sing a bit of the carol is it came round, from Five Gold Rings to the end. Much hilarity resulted. Then my favourite (non-christmas) part of the concert. A medley of Abba songs from Mamma Mia. (More of this show later in the week). White Christmas by Irving Berlin, from Holiday Inn, led into the Christmas sing-along, including Let it Snow, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday.

All in all it was an enjoyable concert, both Choir and Orchestra performed the pieces well. As for the jokes from Graham Taylor, well I do not think there is a career in comedy waiting for him. There was something for everyone.

Postscript – Thanks are due to City of Glasgow Chorus member Beth for drawing my attention to the concert, and selling me the ticket.

Author: Stewart

An instrumentation engineer who enjoys photography and singing. Working in the West of Scotland; a member of St Mary's Cathedral Glasgow and Southwark Cathedral; and a volunteer guard/signalman on the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales.

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