From the opening ethereal notes of the first part of Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus, as well as the well-controlled crescendos and joyous percussive moments, the substantial audience at Cupar Choral’s Annual Concert on 21stApril knew they were going to be assured of an excellent evening of music.
After a warm welcome to St. John’s Church by the Reverend Ian Weatherspoon, conductor Michael Segaud introduced the second piece in the programme, five Spirituals arranged by John Rutter from his song cycle ‘Feel the Spirit’.
Under Michael’s excellent direction the choir’s mellow tone, clear diction and some lovely instrumental moments captured the genre of the songs. The finger clicking in ‘Joshua beat the Battle’, the thoughtful atmosphere and exquisite harmonies of ‘Steal Away’, the beautiful beautiful opening piano passage followed by a most sensitive solo flute, the sonorous chordal sounds in ‘Deep River’ and the smiles and sharp clarity of ‘When the Saints’ right to the exuberant ‘Yeah’ at the end, all underlined that the conductor, choir and instrumentalists were at one in the performance.
The final piece again by Karl Jenkins ‘The Armed Man’, saw the choir joined by a larger group of instrumentalists, the excellent Cupar Consort, and four young soloists with great potential, Leah DuncanKarim from Dunfermline, Isobel Haynes from Cupar, Mathew Cobain from Kirkcaldy and Brandon Low from Markinch.
This anti-war piece dedicated to the victims of Kosovo, uses the Catholic Mass as a framework alongside texts secular and religious including the haunting Adhaan, the Muslim call to Prayer and words from Kipling, Tennyson and Sankichi Toge, a Hiroshima survivor who sadly died later of leukaemia.
Again the response of choir, young soloists and instrumentalists to the direction of Michael Segaud engaged the audience in the journey from the insistent percussive and piccolo clarity of ‘L’Homme Arme’, through the poignant piano solo of Torches, the beautiful descending scale of the ‘Angus Dei’, the heart rending cello solo and contrasting triumphant declaration of the ‘Benedictus’, right to the end with the uplifting and passionate rendition of ‘Better is Peace than always War’. The Armed Man does indeed echo so much of the present World’s unease.
This was a terrific evening of music from a choir who so obviously love to sing and are justly proud of Cupar Choral under the leadership of Michael Segaud.
Rehearsals begin on Monday 10thSeptember 7.30pm for the next concert, Handel's Messiah, on Saturday 8thDecember in St. John’s, something to look forward to.