top of page



Coronation Mass - Mozart

Magnificat in C - J C Bach

Fantaisie sur Deux Noels

A range of Carols - 100 Carols for Choirs


Edward Taylor

Martin Johnson


A Christmas concert by The Penrith Singers, conductor Edward Taylor, organist Ian Hare, with Charlotte Jackson (soprano), Audrey McKirdy (alto), Adam Crewe (tenor) and Paul im Thurn (bass).

St. Andrew’s Church, Penrith. Saturday, 3rd December

Two substantial works were performed in the first half, showcasing the musicianship of this accomplished choir and providing a musical feast for a large audience. The Magnificat by Johann Christian Bach, arguably not so well-known as that by his more illustrious father, nevertheless abounds with gorgeous moments, triumphal high notes perfectly in tune and a fugal finale which was neatly articulated. Edward Taylor chose sensible tempi throughout, allowing the music to breathe comfortably and words to come across clearly. The Coronation Mass by Mozart which followed likewise provided many highlights, not least being a well balanced group of soloists who excelled in his characteristically operatic quartets. Elsewhere the choir gave us impressive fortissimos, solemn pianissimos, rhythmic vitality, and real feeling for Mozart’s beguiling melodies, all of which amounted to a vibrantly colourful performance. In a perfect partnership the sensitive and highly accomplished accompaniment by Ian Hare on the organ deserves special mention. Orchestral in texture, fiendishly difficult and seemingly dispatched with effortless ease. 

A programme of Christmas music followed the interval, thoughtfully chosen to give each of the four soloists a chance to shine in a carol of their own. Charlotte Jackson sang John Rutter’s hauntingly beautiful arrangement of ‘I wonder as I wander’, Audrey McKirdy was the soloist in the medieval carol ‘Angelus ad Virginem’, Adam Crewe’s tenor soared over the Bach-like chorale in ‘The Three Kings’ by Peter Cornelius, and the bass solo in ‘A Spotless Rose’ was sung by Paul im Thurn backed by the choir’s admirable handling of Howells’ tricky chromatic harmonies. Other items included ‘Up Good Christen Folk and Listen’ a rare opportunity to hear the choir a capella, the witty and virtuosic ‘Fantaisie sur Deux Noels’ played by Ian Hare, John Rutter’s ‘Nativity Carol’ and his arrangement of ‘The Sans Day Carol’. The concert closed with Mack Wilberg’s entertaining and colourful version of ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’, bringing us all back to the 21 st century and sending us home in upbeat spirits. This concert was a great start to the Christmas season.

Martin Johnson

bottom of page