Sopranos win praise in magnificent Choral Symphony

7 Apr 2022

Crouch End Festival Chorus performed what one critic called “one of the finest” Beethoven Ninth Symphony performances of his life at London’s Royal Festival Hall on April 3 2022.

Just over a fortnight after singing a concert with composer Sir Karl Jenkins at the venue, the choir joined forces with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Philharmonia Voices for a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Choral) under the respected Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša.

Writing for the Seen and Heard International website, critic Colin Clarke said the sound of the choir was “sheer bone-shaking” in a piece which tests all singers at the top of their range.

“All credit to the valiant sopranos who maintained full strength in Beethoven’s cruel writing,” he wrote. “This was certainly one of the finest Beethoven Ninth’s this reviewer has heard…Simply magnificent.”

The choir was joined by soloists Lyubov Petrova (soprano), Hanna Hipp (mezzo-soprano), Nicky Spence (tenor) and Solomon Howard (bass) in a performance which had the sell-out audience on their feet at the end in a long curtain call.

Musical Director David Temple, who prepared the choir for the concert with Philharmonia Voices director Aidan Oliver, said: “Jakub Hrůša is now part of a small number of truly great conductors with whom we have worked and it’s always a privilege handing over to someone of that quality and charisma. 

“He is very special and I do hope he will choose to work with us again in the future. The choir was magnificent from start to finish.  I have never heard such beautiful and accurate German to go with the enormous wall of sound and energy. “

The choir’s next concert features Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony at the Alexander Palace Theatre on May 8 2022.


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