Wordfringe 2009Programme StrandsEvent Calendar




1st–31st May 2009


Makar Making
First Friday Fling with Janis MacKay
Pushing Out the Boat
Night at the Light
From Pennan to Penang
Trio Verso
Demented Eloquence Tag-Team Word Wrestling
Prometheus: A River Stained with Iron
Cream of Strathbogie
Expect the Best: Elspeth Murray
Speak Volumes
Coming Home
Double Launch
The Night Mare V Fear of Intimacy
In Search of Salt (Ellon)
In Search of Salt (Aberdeen)
John Hegley
Drawing out the Creativity
Fredrik Sixten: Requiem
The Word Birds
Voyager Poets
Not Drowning but Waving
Fresh Ayr
Young People's Poetry Competition Prizegiving
Closing Verses

Fredrik Sixten: Requiem

World premiere of John Hearne's English translation of the Swedish text by Bengt Pohjanen

Sunday 24 May 2009

St James Episcopal Church, Stonehaven [Map]

Part of New Words / New Sounds

With an orchestra led by Bryan Dargie and chorus and orchestra conducted by Dr John Hearne this was promising. The opening strains of Bach's Magnificat in D were followed however by an uncertain and almost inaudible entry from the chorus. The soloists gave them more confidence, though the tenors, always hard to come by, continued to struggle. All four principal soloists, Wilma MacDougall, Elysia Leech, Iain Milne and Stewart Kempster, sang beautifully. And when Oonagh McAlpine stepped forward from the choir for the trio we knew where at least one of the fine soprano voices came from.

We then had a triumphant performance of Fredrik Sixten's Requiem, full of depth, passion, skilled variety of mood, exploring the doubts, despair and final assertions of faith implied in the Christian theology of death. Was there even a touch of humour, like wee children laughing in church?

The orchestra offered power and delicacy, gentle solos from Dargie, resonance from the cellos and full-throated glory from the brass. Stewart Kempster and Wilma MacDougal sang the solos with authority.

The tour-de-force of the whole concert was now the superb singing of the Stonehaven Chorus. This music gave them strong lines, skilled breathing space, resonant chords and opportunities, tenors included, to show control of fortissimo and pianissimo. Their unaccompanied Agnus Dei, written after the untimely death of the composer's friend, was mesmerizingly beautiful.

Apt applause was given to the orchestra, the chorus, the soloists and especially to John Hearne, whose communication with the musicians seemed almost palpable.

When the composer stepped forward the experience was complete.

Gerard Rochford

Promoted by

Stonehaven and District Choral Society

Supported by

Adrian Smith Saab
St James Episcopal Church, Stonehaven
Making Music Scotland
Kincardine and Deeside Arts Forum
Aberdeenshire Council

Making Music Scotland Sound


Wordfringe 2009Programme StrandsEvent Calendar


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