Handel Coronation Anthems n Review: Malvern Festival Chorus, The Forum

Noble Horvath

MALVERN Festival Chorus is conserving its resources this season in readiness for the major work commissioned from its former conductor Rory Boyle, to be premired a year from now. This made the programme for last Saturday’s concert most sensible, being based on the four Anthems written by Handel for the […]

MALVERN Festival Chorus is conserving its resources this season in readiness for the major work commissioned from its former conductor Rory Boyle, to be premired a year from now.

This made the programme for last Saturday’s concert most sensible, being based on the four Anthems written by Handel for the coronation of George II in 1727 for chorus and small orchestra.

One of them, Zadok the Priest, is almost a pop favourite but the others are much rarer. Let thy Hand be Strengthened and especially My Heart is Inditing are more delicate pieces, the latter sung when the Queen was crowned, while The King Shall Rejoice is full of pomp appropriate to the King’s crowning.

Performed together they provide a concentrated sing for the choir and a satisfying picture of a great occasion in English life and music. It was fascinating to compare Handel’s separate settings of Alleluia choruses in three of the anthems.

The choir performed with credit, obviously well rehearsed by Iain Sloan, and enjoying themselves and knowing exactly what they were aiming for. Texts came over clearly and variations of tempi and climaxes were well judged. As always the tenor line needed some more voices. They were well supported by the Regency Sinfonia, with excellent soloists who also gave their all in the instrumental works by Handel and his contemporaries Arne and Stanley which gave the choir much needed respite.

Ernie Kay

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