Brilliant baroque at egg-stra special show

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BRILLIANT BAROQUE

Doncaster Choral Society

THE main ingredient of Doncaster Choral Society’s March concert at Priory Methodist Church, conducted as usual by Simon Lindley, was a rare performance of Handel’s The Passion of Christ of 1716, an intense and powerful setting of the Easter story underlined by Dr Lindley’s committed interpretation directed either from conductor’s desk or harpsichord.

The impact of the sometimes bite-sized Handelian choral morsels ranging from crowd interjections to chorale hymns, came over very well indeed.

There were a dozen solo singers with varying amounts to do. John Dunford (tenor) was a sensitive Evangelist, with admirably clear diction.

Philip Wilcox (bass) was a sturdy Christus and Anita Wiencelewski (soprano), as Mary, showed anger and resignation in a few bars.

Kristina James (also soprano) was the Daughter of Zion, combining both narrative and comment in lyrical singing of much beauty.

Among the smaller parts, Peter (Toby Ward), Caiaphas (Charlie Calver) and Pilate (James Stark) contributed much.

Instrumental support came from organist David Houlder, whose contribution was invaluable as ever, and principals of the stylish National Festival Orchestra (leader, Sally Robinson), comprising just an oboe and string quintet. The whole performance comprised a thoroughly fresh experience as well as a rarity.

The shorter first half featured, imaginatively, three chorales from Bach cantatas including Jesu Joy of man’s desiring from Cantata 147 and also Albinoni’s superb D Minor Oboe Concerto from the admirable oboist Jonathan Tobutt, who decorated his melodic lines exquisitely in the best baroque tradition.

A splendid evening.

* “Orpheus”

UNICORN HUNTERS

The Leopard

NEW upcoming bands are the future to a new age of music and earlier this month at The Leopard, that statement couldn’t have been more right.

Three scruffy looking young boys stepped onto the stage and the crowd paid virtually no attention.

Then they picked up their instruments and began to play.

It’s a strange sound when a whole crowd’s jaws drop - and drop they did.

They called themselves the Unicorn Hunters and they had style. Jaz on guitar began shredding the intro to Moscow as the floor began to vibrate with simultaneous foot stomping. More songs were played, earning the respect of the mass of people as casually cool bass guitarist, Deano plucked away at his weapon of music.

The night was drawing to a close, much to the crowd’s disappointment, when the band threw in one last bout of stagecraft. Nearing the end of Six Feet Under, crazed drummer Oli, lost in the music, put his foot through the bass drum. A class act and at so young, these boys are going far. So catch them before you have to pay vast amounts to see them. Unicorn Hunters were and are, pure brilliance.

* Jake Rankin