The Southport Bach Choir’s 2013-14 season ended later than usual, because we were invited to form the nucleus of the specially formed Crosby Symphony Chorus to sing with Crosby Symphony Orchestra in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral, on 12 July. Joined by 30 plus singers from the Chester Music Society Choir and some friends from the Renaissance Music Group of Liverpool, we sang Bruckner’s Te Deum, conducted by our own Director of Music, Ian Crawford, and the choral movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This – the whole symphony of course – was conducted by Robert Sells.
It was an exciting occasion. We of the SBC had sung the Bruckner, with piano accompaniment, earlier in the year, at Holy Trinity Church, Southport, but we discovered that it was a very different matter singing this work with an orchestra – a full symphony orchestra, including lots of brass, in the astonishing acoustic of the Met. Wisely, Ian Crawford allowed a generous pause at the end of each movement for the echo to die away; I wasn’t counting very carefully, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that 5 seconds elapsed before the sound tailed off. It was enjoyable being able to relax and listen to the orchestra in the Beethoven. They played well, with energy and enthusiasm, but some of the intricate detail of Beethoven’s score, particularly in the fleet-footed Scherzo got lost in that reverberant space.
This concert brought to a grand finale Robert Sells’ long association with the Crosby Symphony Orchestra, whose Conductor and Musical Director he has been since 1982. We of the SBC were pleased and honoured to be asked to join them and to have the opportunity of singing in such a concert and venue, and we look forward to further collaborations in the future.