As the Hallelujah Chorus began to end the concert, the packed audience at St Andrew's stood up in unison, and when the final stirring Hallelujah was finished, they erupted into the loudest applause to date of this truly Spectacular concert.
The ingredients were all there for a wonderful event; A truly historic occasion, an accomplished choir, high calibre orchestra, booming organs (yes there were two in operation), and a boy's choir on the balcony.
When maestro Thomas Heywood, doyen of the organ, and Director of Music at this special place is handling the ingredients the result is an afternoon of pure musical rejoicing, that delighted all.
The first half featured works by Sir Hubert Parry (I was Glad), Mozart (Ave serum corpus), Vivaldi (Gloria), Handel (Zadok the Priest et al) and Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Mendelssohn (Elijah) and Hayden (Creation), utilising the orchestra, organ, choir and soloists. All joyful works, splendidly introduced by the booming voice of Thomas, who can spin an amusing musical anecdote as well as he navigates the organ. He projects his love and joy of the music to the very last pew. #Infectiousenthusiasm might be the only appropriate hash tag.
The second half stripped the performance back to the usual setting for the church of choir and organ, presenting a few longer works including a new arrangement (Heywood and Stretch) of the Messe Breve by Delibes. The orchestra was brought back for the Messiah excerpts and encore of Jesu Joy of Man's desiring.
In collaboration with St Andrews organisation, Thomas and Simone Heywood, Hofland Music has had the privilege of recording this choral spectacular to enable both a CD and DVD to be produced. It will be a very special memory of this once off event. The acoustic in the church is a joy to work with as a sound engineer, so we have made a beautiful recording that will capture the grand space filled with music.
Available on the Hofland CD Store for a limited time only.