Beethoven Mass in C, Janácek Our Father, at St John’s

“What an impressive and exciting sound from the Hackney Singers in the Beethoven Mass in C”

“All in all a feast for the ears and the soul”

“Musicians wow church audience of hundreds” Walthamstow Guardian

Click here for press release

The church of St John at Hackney resounded with applause from the 650-strong audience for the rousing welcome speech by the new rector, Rev Rob Wickham, as he introduced the Hackney Singers and Forest Philharmonic Spring concert on Saturday. And the applause as the concert finished (below) was even more heartfelt.

The musical team take a bow after the Janácek.  Mark Shanahan (conductor), Dan Ludford-Thomas (Associate conductor, Tenor) Andrew Storey (Repétiteur, Organist)

Photos: David Radford

Spring Concert

St John at Hackney

Lower Clapton Road E5

Sat 28th April 2007

Hackney Singers

Forest Philharmonic

Conductor: Mark Shanahan

Organist: Andrew Storey

Soprano: Rachel Chapman

Mezzo Soprano: Polly Jeffries

Tenor: Dan Ludford-Thomas

Bass Baritone: Daniel Jordan

The Programme

Beethoven: Mass in C

Janácek: Our Father

Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave)

Download the programme text in 18pt type

“What an impressive and exciting sound from the Hackney Singers in the Beethoven Mass in C. It was the first time I’d heard Janá?ek’s Our Father and I found it a heartfelt and lovely setting of the Lord’s Prayer, imbued with mystery and drama. The Forest Philharmonic kicked off with a wonderfully atmospheric performance of Fingal’s Cave – you could really hear the sea crashing around you.”  Catharine Gunningham

“All in all a feast for the ears and the soul” Prue Poulton

Magical, thrilling piece, wonderful! Jackie Latham

I loved the Janácek piece. Although it’s early it shows signs of his mature work. I particularly liked the choir’s cries of ‘Bread!’ When this piece was written there was severe hunger in Czechoslovakia and this was a bold political statement by the composer. Michael Dempsey

A first class concert. Very high standard. The choir showed warmth and feeling, and the soloists were extremely good. Overall: 10 out of 10. When is the next concert? We will be first in line to book! From Australia! Chris & Liz Roderick visiting from Australia

A packed church, the amazing standard of the conductor, a varied and inspiring programme and a wonderful big body of sound which filled the large space’.
David Shaw – audience member and musician

The performance was wonderful and powerful !
I feel very proud for all the performers, I’d like to work hard and be one of you for the next time. Lifong Zou

“The Beethoven is a classical work, but that doesn’t mean it’s tame. When the orchestra joins and doubles the vocal lines it suddenly becomes incredibly powerful and forceful work. The drama is heightened by the orchestral solos and the elegance of the solo singers’ lines, which brings to the work an incredibly moving quality.”  Mark Shanahan, conductor

“This is the first time I’ve played in the Beethoven Mass in C., and this makes it more spontaneous. I love it. It’s very dramatic. The choir sounds great, and that’s not easy because they have to be very precise.”  John Crawford, leader of the orchestra

It’s lovely to join the performance as a singer, and this is my type of programme. I really feel a part of Hackney Singers, as their associate conductor for the past few years, but it’s a joy to show where I come from as a soloist. The choir sounds exciting and it is showing the Hackney spirit and guts.  Dan Ludford-Thomas, tenor soloist and associate conductor

It was a delight to sing for Mark and the Hackney singers once more. I was impressed by the whole event; from the excellent choir, who have certainly swelled in number and improved considerably over the last couple of years, to the well-oiled publicity machine very much in evidence judging by the enormous audience! It is encouraging to see and hear a choral society who puts such on an eclectic range of concerts and to such a high standard. Congratulations.  Daniel Jordan, bass baritone soloist:

The Beethoven is a lovely piece. There’s a nice contrast between the bombastic sections, and the lyrical parts of it such as the Benedictus, which is my favourite section. Polly Jeffries, mezzosoprano soloist

It’s a beautiful venue, and a great turnout and orchestra for the concert. I’ve worked with Mark before and I’m delighted to have the chance to do so again tonight. Rachel Chapman, soprano soloist