Festival Chorus at cathedral

Harrogate Festival Chorus.
Harrogate Festival Chorus.

MUSIC lovers can look forward to a rare Bank Holiday treat when Harrogate Festival Chorus presents Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Vaughan Williams’ Sancta Civitas in Ripon Cathedral on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29, in what promises to be an exciting and rewarding evening.

The evening will also offer an opportunity to hear nationally-renowned bass soloist Stephen Connolly, who sang with the highly acclaimed King’s Singers.

Thom Meredith, who will once again be conducting, will be remembered for the choir’s exciting performance of Mendelssohn’s St Paul in Ripon Cathedral a year ago, as well as for a recent enthusiastically-received performance of Karl Jenkins’ Armed Man in Halifax Minster earlier this year.

Both Belshazzar’s Feast and Sancta Civitas set the same line of text – ‘Babylon the Great is fallen’ – but in very different ways.

Walton’s setting is a triumphant paean of praise to God for the Jews release from captivity following Belshazzar’s death, while Vaughan Williams brings an almost subdued meditation on man’s folly that has once again brought him to this pass.

Both pieces are thought-provoking in entirely different ways, the music is vivid and heart-breaking by turns, and together they offer a wonderful musical experience to singers and audience alike.

Sancta Civitas was Vaughan Williams’ own favourite work for chorus and orchestra but it is rarely performed in concert these days as it requires the formidable forces of three choirs and a large orchestra – and only lasts half an hour!

The Harrogate Festival Choral Course was formed in 2008 to meet demand from singers for a summer choral course in Yorkshire. Members of the Chorus come together from all over the country to attend the annual Choral Course over five days at Queen Ethelburga’s College at Thorpe Underwood.

Tickets costing £15.00 each (£12.00 concessions) are available from Alan’s Gallery at 19 Kirkgate, Ripon or from Ripon Cathedral Gift Shop.