In the magnificent settings of Wells Cathedral, the Millfield Music School hosted one of the highlights of its concert programme; the Choral Concert with Millfield Chorale and Festival Chorus. Accompanied by a professional orchestra, the choir of 180 senior school students and members of the local community Karl Jenkins seminal work, ‘The Armed Man’, led by Director of Music Matthew Cook. A sold out crowd filed into the cathedral, eagerly anticipating the performance.
The work itself is a large scale work made up of thirteen movements, notable for its scale and demands on both the choir and orchestra. The music depicts the strains of war and a hope for peace, with texts from religious scripture combined with carefully chosen war poetry and first hand accounts of conflict. The result is a powerful and deeply engaging choral work, interspersed with moments of darkness and light which draws the audience in.
In this performance, the audience were treated to a wonderful selection of student soloists, showcasing the tremendous vocal talent at the school. Notable performances included the beautiful introductions to the ‘Kyrie’ from Annabella and Lauren; the dark rendition of the ‘Angry Flames’ performed by Florence, Rosie, Elenice, Rowan and Harry; and the stunning performance of the emotionally charged movement ‘Now the Guns have Stopped, depicting the grief of a war widow, by Isabelle.
The choir showcased their enthusiasm, dexterity and exceptional quality throughout. Paticular highlights included the power of ‘Hymn Before Action’ and ‘Charge!’, the beauty of the ‘Agnus Dei’ and ‘Benedictus’ and the resounding hope and triumph of the work’s final movement, ‘Better is Peace’. In the finale, the texture stripped back to highlight the skill and control of the choir, performing Jenkin’s wonderful setting of ‘God Shall Wipe Away All Tears’.
As the audience left the concert, many commented on how wonderful the spectacle of the occasion was, and many gave generously in our retiring collection for the Stroke Association and Family Counselling Trust. We thank everyone for their kind donations and hope that you will be able to come along to our next performance in the Millfield Music School calendar; the Johnson Sessions, taking place on Saturday 17th March at 7.15pm.
The Millfield Music School Blog provides a fantastic insight into the musical life of Millfield School – from upcoming performances to concert reviews, insights into the music performed and details of the International Concert Series, keep up to date with everything throughout the year at: www.millfieldmusic.com