Plymouth Philharmonic Choir

Refreshing summer programme from Plymouth Philharmonic Choir

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It was refreshing that Plymouth Philharmonic Choir had chosen a lighter programme for their summer concert, as the sun streamed through the stained-glass windows into the hall.

Indeed the choir’s opener, Rutter’s eminently-tuneful For the Beauty of the Earth, very much accorded with this. Of course it’s a matter of taste, but Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna didn’t appear to have quite the same immediate appeal, although conductor Christopher Fletcher did craft moments of beauty along the way, aided by Nicholas Danks’s sympathetic accompaniment on the imported electronic pipe-organ.

From then on it was Rutter all the way, which implies wall-to-wall melody, but occasionally at the expense of a certain predictability, and nowhere more so than the almost obligatory key-changes on repeats.

Feel the Spirit was certainly uplifting, and very much caught the choir’s imagination. Swapping over to electronic piano, with added bass and drums, courtesy of Michael Allnatt and Michelle Hiley respectively, it was debatable whether soloist Shirley Tyack could have benefitted from a little acoustic enhancement, especially for the low register.

In the opening Safety Announcement, we were told that the choir had been swaying in time to the music in rehearsal. It therefore seemed a shame that this didn’t really happen in performance, especially in the closing When the Saints go Marching in, which seemed to be calling out for some more visible signs of enjoyment.


Philip Buttall

Philip Buttall

Philip R Buttall was the Classical Music Writer at Plymouth Herald from 1997-2017. He is a sought-after piano teacher, composer and arranger, and online concert and CD reviewer. Further information and contact details are available at
Philip Buttall