MALVERN Festival Chorus brought their Season of Feasts to a grand finale at the weekend in conjunction with members of London-based 1885 Singers.
A near-capacity and highly appreciative audience at Malvern Theatres last Saturday heard a rousing performance of William Walton’s vivid Belshazzar’s Feast conducted by MFC’s director of music Richard Knight.
A 49-piece orchestra of the Regency Sinfonia accompanied MFC along with professional baritone soloist Stewart Kempster.
The work moves from the darkness of the lamenting Israelite slaves, through the great feast of the Babylonians, to the light of the freed slaves’ exuberance as they praise God for their freedom.
The first half of the concert featured Mr Knight’s own compositions, ‘Immortality’ for choir and ‘Ebb’ for three soloists and chamber orchestra.
The libretti by Robert Ingersoll and Norman Welch was movingly expressed by the haunting music with performances by Alexandra Tiffin, Kevin Ilsley and Mr Kempster fusing together the lament of the young woman, the words of wisdom from her father and the Latin mass sung by her uncle, a priest.
Two more familiar pieces conducted by 1885 Singers’ conductor Alison Hunka completed the programme.
Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves which set the scene for the concert and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No 5 which opened the second half.
The concert was supported by the Elmley Foundation.