A rapturous reception from the critic of the Hereford Times for the ESO’s Elgar Pilgrimage appearance at Hereford Cathedral. Read the original here.
“Tonight we were simply spellbound, thanks largely to the meticulous attention to detail on the part of conductor Kenneth Woods….
“There followed Songs of Loss and Regret by Philip Sawyers, who had introduced his work in a pre-concert talk earlier. Clearly a composer who eschews modernism, Sawyers presented us with a cycle of sombre, vaguely Mahlerian settings of poems, chiefly on the themes of war and death…
“Sawyers’ piece was beautifully written in the main, and sung with a blend of tragedy and rapture by the American soprano April Fredrick….
“To round off the evening, we were given a special treat: Elgar’s Sea Pictures arranged for Choir and Strings by Donald Fraser. For this, the ensemble was joined by the Academia Musica Choir, an enterprise that saw its beginnings at Hereford Sixth Form College…
“Normally scored for contralto solo, this moving version worked so convincingly that at times I was hard put to recall the original.
“This had been a carefully thought out programme, the concert itself once again proof that the city of Hereford is no backwater in the world of serious music.”