40th Anniversary Concert ()

concert poster
  • Messiah (Part 1): Handel
  • The Coming of the Kingdom (World Première): Malcolm Archer



Lichfield Cathedral, The Close, Lichfield, WS13 7LD [map]

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New work had the freshness of the mountains

This review of The Coming of the Kingdom first appeared in the Lichfield Mercury:

“The world premiere of a new composition is a rare event and within moments of hearing the opening bars of Malcolm Archer’s specially commissioned piece, we knew we were about to enjoy a brilliant, tuneful work.

The Coming of the Kingdom is sympathetically written by a composer with a deep understanding of choral singing. Each movement has its own discreet character, with colourful but never overpowering orchestration, played by the excellent St Chad’s Camerata.

The choir sang confidently helped by Malcolm Archer’s typical blend of unison and rhythmic chordal style and the lyrical lines were well-handled and phrased.

The alto solo was beautifully sung by David Hurley, long-time member of the King’s Singers. He sang with a clarity and conviction which carried extremely well while always appearing effortless. The air of the North Carolina mountains where we are told the work was mainly composed, must have been clear and fresh, for this is how the music felt.

In the second half a crisp and balanced performance of the highlights of the Messiah was given by both choir and orchestra, the only weak spot being the opening of And he shall purify. There were some meaningful dynamic contrasts, notably in Glory to God.

The soprano soloist, Sarah Tynan, sang with a maturity beyond her years, with Rejoice Greatly lifting the spirits. Tenor Martin Hindmarsh delighted us with his lyrical sound in a brief appearance but Jolyon Dodgson’s tone being rather more baritone than bass, was less satisfactory in this large building and he did not manage to accurately reflect the wonderful musical phrasing by the solo trumpeter in The Trumpet Shall Sound. David Hurley was also struggling with some of the lower parts of the alto solos, as his voice is clearly at its best in the higher reaches.

Nevertheless, this was an exciting programme for a very special concert.

The infectious enthusiasm and meticulous attention to detail of conductor Andrew Lumsden really paid off, with every performer and every member of the audience clearly enjoying a splendid night out.”

in Lichfield Mercury, December 1999