Cockermouth Harmonics Review -
Cockermouth Harmonics Choir and the West Lakeland Orchestra combined to give their audience an imaginative programme of music at their Summer Concert. The various pieces were linked together by references to the ‘New World’ of the Americas.
We started and ended the evening with ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast’, part of Longfellow’s poem set to music by Samuel Coleridge-
Five Spirituals from Tippett’s ‘A Child of Our Time’ followed, the choir and soloists unaccompanied. Fiona Weakley’s (soprano) and Christopher Steele’s (tenor) performances made the hairs on one’s neck stand on end. There were excellent dynamic contrasts from the choir in ‘Nobody knows’. Fiona and Jolyon Dodgson (Bass) came together effectively for ‘Go Down, Moses’ with Fiona the soloist in ‘By and By’. The three soloists were joined from the choir by Jenny Weakley, Fiona’s daughter, to make up a quartet for the final spiritual ‘Deep River’.
Dvorak is probably best known for his “New World” Symphony but this concert featured another American commission, his ‘Te Deum’ a setting of the Christian Hymn, ‘Te Deum Laudamus’ meaning ‘Thee O God we praise’. The work proceeded from one section to another without a break. After a vivid opening from choir and orchestra, Fiona Weakley was in fine voice as she sang ‘Sanctus’. Jolyon Dodgson took a convincing lead in ‘Tu Rex Gloria’. The choir and orchestra gave us ‘Aeterna fac’. Both bass and soprano led into ‘Dignare, Domine’, before the whole company came together in a fantastic finale, full of soaring voices, strings, wind instruments, timpani and percussion.
The second half was devoted to ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast’ completed in 1898. It is the first part of a trilogy of cantatas entitled ‘Scenes from The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’. It made Coleridge-
|Carlisle 8 July 2006|
|Cockermouth 3 July 2010|