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Press and Praise

December 2022

From Steve Crowther’s review of Carols by Candlelight in York Minster

The performance of Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque was one of the night’s highlights: beautiful soprano singing, nigh-perfect close-harmony pitching creating a delicate, musical glow.

For your reviewer, however, the most rewarding offerings were the two versions of Jesus Christ The Apple Tree: the famous Elizabeth Poston setting and the new one composed this year by the Choir’s founder, Andrew Carter. Both embraced the freshness, simplicity and fluency of the anonymous 18th-century New England text, both had a sweet, seemingly effortless delivery and both stayed in the memory after the concert itself.

Christmas 2022

The Chapter House Choir and Chapter House Youth Choir in Carols by Candlelight, December 2022

NOVember 2021

From Martin Dryer’s review of the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem concert in York Minster

On the eve of Remembrance Sunday, there could be no more perfect choice of repertory than A German Requiem, Brahms’ non-liturgical memorial to the dead.

Like so many performers during lockdown, Chapter House Choir under Benjamin Morris has struggled to stay together and survive. So this was a test of its mettle, as well as being the first post-lockdown ticketed musical event at York Minster itself.

The Chapter House Choir is back and in fine fettle.

Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem

Brahms “Ein Deutsches Requiem”, with pianists Eleanor Kornas and Polly Sharpe, in York Minster, November 2021

December 2018

From the York Press review of the Christmas Mirabile Mysterium concert in St Michael-le-Belfrey Church

“FOR their candlelit carol concert, The Chapter House Choir were on fine form on Friday, calmly led by their director Benjamin Morris. Many stylish moments of great beauty atmospherically underlined the evening’s theme, Wondrous Mystery.

At their communicative best in Andrew Carter’s joyful Mirabile Mysterium and Poulenc’s O Magnum Mysterium, the singers also brought out the good humour in Warlock’s Benedicamus Domino. Morten Lauridsen’s radiant O Magnum Mysterium was deeply felt, secure in execution and organic in effect.”

…”Christmas properly begins with the choir’s Handbell Ringers. Their unpretentious virtuosity is a delight, as is the resounding transparency of the musical arrangements they inspire.”

Sharing the billing was the Chapter House Youth Choir … Singing from memory, these accomplished teenagers showed sure-footed composure in the awkward rhythms of Barnum’s Sweeter Still and Snyder’s medley Fum Fum Fantasy.

March 2018

From the York Press review of the Voices from the East concert, featuring music from Russia, Poland and the Baltics to celebrate the unveiling of the Great East Window of York Minster

… The choir emphasised the delicious melodic interplay of Vytautas Miškinis’ Angelis Suis Deus, and both the singers and the audience demonstrated visible enjoyment during Górecki’s Amen. Lydia Eyre’s solo in Ēriks Ešenvalds’ Only in Sleep was tantalising…

Under the assertive direction of Benjamin Morris, the repertoire was handled impressively by the Chapter House Choir, who maintained clarity and balance throughout the entirely a capella programme.

December 2017

From the York Press review of the Carols by Candlelight concert conducted by Andrew Carter

… Variation of vocal colour was abundant: intimate in Shaw’s Lute-book Lullaby; deftly playful in Walford-Davies’s The Holly And The Ivy; sinuous and serene in Howells’s A Spotless Rose; rich and warm for Howells’s Sing Lullaby.

The Handbell Ringers performed magical, surprisingly delicate, festive carol arrangements, making the evening, if possible, even more Christmassy.

Carter’s deceptively simple yet ravishing arrangement of Stille Nacht was a delightful encore. It was a privilege to be there.

Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight in the Chapter House of York Minster, December 2017

November 2016

Jonathan Howard, writing on the King’s Singers blog

Last night’s concert in York Minster was a real joy. Both the Chapter House Choir and the Chapter House Youth Choir are exceptional groups – full of excellent singers, but hugely successful as ensembles too. It was a privilege to share the stage with both of them.

February 2016

From the York Press review of the concert featuring Daniel in Babylon by Francis Jackson and William Walton’s The Twelve

The choir was keenly theatrical, too, often a cappella; several triumphal moments were balanced with a beguiling serenity, notably in the lovely harmonies of Motet V (By His Name All Storms Are Quiet). The whispered prayer to archangel Michael followed by wordless evocation of the heavenly choir and thunderous organ provided a potent finale.

December 2015

An extract from the York Press review of Carols by Candlelight in St Michael-le-Belfrey Church

…the variety of their sound quality, their excellent diction, and the purity and unanimity of the upper voices demonstrated some of the attributes that account for the Chapter House Choir’s longevity.

The choir’s handbell ensemble punctuated the programme with a visual and aural spectacle: their ingenious carol arrangements mingled festively with the distant bells of St Wilfrid’s across the road.

November 2014

An extract from the York Press review of our For the Fallen remembrance concert

A PROGRAMME entitled For the Fallen was always going to be sombre, but it was absolutely in tune with this year’s centenary Remembrance commemorations. Significantly, all but one of the pieces was by a British composer. Douglas Guest’s chorale-like setting of Binyon’s For the Fallen, Edward Bairstow’s honest arrangement of Gibbons’s Jesu, Grant Me This, Francis Pott’s impressionistic The Souls of the Righteous (with tenor soloist Dan Hunt), and Alexander L’Estrange’s close harmony setting of Thomas’s Rain, were especially effective in this moving anthology.

Chapter House Choir in St Olave's Church

Chapter House Choir in St Olave’s Church

June 2014

An extract from Martin Scheuregger’s review of Song Cycle: vive la vélorution! featured in the York Press

Saturday night’s concert in York Minster was a true celebration of cycling, singing and Yorkshire… From the heartfelt to the hilarious, each of the assembled choirs had their moment to shine, with highlights including the assembled children for Fine And Dandy and the men taking the fore in The Men Who Ride For Fun. Congratulations must go to the Chapter House Choir for this ambitious commission and welcoming Le Grand Départ with singing and smiles.

Chapter House Choir on wheels for Song Cycle

Chapter House Choir members on wheels for Song Cycle

April 2014

Concert for Clare at St. Luke’s Chelsea, in collaboration with Coro London

Gabriel Jackson, composer of our In Memoriam commission, commented

Terrific singing tonight from The Chapter House Choir and Coro London in a very special memorial concert.

Denise Redding, Mark and Clare Latham

Denise Redding, Mark Latham and Clare Latham – York Minster

November 2013

An extract from The York Press review of our Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil, performed as part of the Illuminating York festival

…The overall effect was immensely satisfying. Phrases were shaped with tender consistency. Straight tone made for very accurate tuning. Above all, there was an awareness between the voices of where the focus should be, so that lines ebbed and flowed seamlessly in and out of the texture. There were forceful Alleluias aplenty, but balancing moments of lovely restraint. Illuminating, indeed.

June 2012

An extract from The York Press review of our concert, featuring the premiere of our commission from Bob Chilcott: Marriage to My Lady Poverty

The Chapter House Choir purred into fine form [for the concert] with a moving performance of Elgar’s As Torrents In Summer. The composer’s My Love Dwelt proved to be another choral gem and the choir clearly relished the beautiful sound world – the call and response motif staying long in the memory… The choir sang…[with] clarity and balance, a real mark of quality…The part-singing and interweaving of lines was delicious, the tenors a massive bonus to the choir’s balance… The Bob Chilcott commission, Marriage To My Lady Poverty, had a lovely haunted quality with hypnotic ostinato patterns supporting the work’s flowing melodies, the delivery was both poignant and assured.