Sunday 30 November 2014
MESSIAH FROM SCRATCH®
Royal Albert Hall
Our 2014 Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Messiah from Scratch®, founded in 1974 by Don Monro and his colleagues in the Tuesday Partnership. Tragically, Don did not live to see his inspirational idea reach this milestone, as he died in May 2014 (click here for an obituary and an appreciation). As everyone stood for the Hallelujah Chorus we kept a minute’s silence in memory of a man of phenomenal energy and talent.
On a happier note, a prior performance of this famous chorus, just after the interval, brought a new conductor to the podium. Ralph Taylor, Director of Contemporary Art at Bonham’s auctioned the chance to conduct this most memorable piece, and the lucky winner, backed by 80 or so members of her various French choirs, was the very English Frances Hook, shown right at the moment she realised the prize was hers. Frances was ushered to the podium by Brian Kay, with the instruction ‘Don’t be too good!’; however, she delivered an utterly authoritative performance and Brian’s comment, as she finished to tumultuous applause, was ‘You rotter!’. You can see a video of Frances’s Hallelujah Chorus here on YouTube, and you can download an audio file here.
The performance was accompanied by the English Festival Orchestra (leader Adrian Levine), and the four soloists were Jennifer France (soprano), Anna Harvey (mezzo), Nick Pritchard (tenor) and Ed Ballard (baritone). The Royal Albert Hall’s ‘Father’ Willis organ was played by Jane Watts.
The concert supported the British Heart Foundation through programme sales, bucket collections, sales of merchandise and the auction. More than £10,000 was raised for this important national charity during the course of the evening.
A live recording was made by Abbey Road Live Here Now, and it is still possible to order CDs. The more CDs you buy, the cheaper they are: click here to place your order (opens in a new window). You can also see photos of the concert taken by Chris Christodoulou; click here to visit the Messiah from Scratch® gallery on his website.