LIVE REVIEW: Handel’s Messiah – Todmorden Choral Society and Todmorden Orchestra, Todmorden Town Hall, 26th November


Is this the hottest ticket in town? Book early if you want to go next year. Your reviewer only got in on account of a cancellation.

The choral society and orchestra, conducted by Antony Brannick (of the Antony and Friends concerts) triumphed in this well known work. There is the Hallelujah Chorus, and much more. All four soloists had beautiful, expressive voices. The first part was mainly joyful, including tenor Jean-Pascal Heynemand’s powerful solo “Ev’ry valley shall be exalted”, and baritone Stuart Orme’s authoritative “The people that walked in darkness”. These are just some of the sections of this long piece.

The second part, referring to Jesus’ sufferings on earth, began more sadly, including mezzo-soprano Sophie Dicks’ richly-voiced solo “He was despised and rejected of men”. But it builds to the Hallelujah Chorus, in which the chorus and orchestra shone.

There is more to come. Soprano Rebecca Moon, who makes it seem easy, sang the serene “I know that my Redeemer liveth”. In the next to last section “The trumpet shall sound”, and it did, played brilliantly by Todmorden-born Michael Allen. The piece ends with the slow but celebratory “Worthy is the Lamb”.

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I came to Todmorden in 1979 with my record collection but have gradually become converted to live music