Review: The Halle Orchestra and Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus on sparkling form

The Halle Orchestra. Photo by Peter Warren.
The Halle Orchestra. Photo by Peter Warren.

The Halle Orchestra and Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus put on an excellent concert of English and American choral music with the superb soprano Elizabeth Atherton,

Vaughan Williams’ ‘Towards the Unknown Region’ with words by Walt Whitman was a cheering start to the evening at Sheffield City Hall.

Samuel Barber’s ‘Knoxville, Summer of 1915’ poignantly evoked the small world of a child: a real gem beautifully sung by Elizabeth Atherton.

‘Tintagel’ by Arnold Bax contained all the passions of sea on magical cliffs as well as between humans.

The highlight of the evening was Elgar’s choral masterpiece ‘The Spirit of England’. With great dignity it salutes the fallen of the First World War, the sufferings of the women and the endurance of England, through the poetry of Laurence Binyon. The music is haunting, patriotic yet restrained and the performance was just right.

The Philharmonic Chorus were in fine voice, the Halle played well and the soloist was wonderful – a memorable evening.