Press clippings

Not your usual festival musical fayre [‘Christmas Fantasy’]
“[Charpentier:] The singers moved between styles with ease and with good phrasing and well-prepared part singing, exemplified well in the contrapuntal Kyrie … It was immediately clear that this growing choir has already established a good rapport with their new conductor, Daniel Gordon. And under Daniel’s expert tutelage, this choir is now flourishing. Interestingly, this was Daniel’s first performance as a conductor who is, first and foremost, an accompanist of the highest regard. Directing the choir with ease and with lashings of natural ability and musicality you would think he’d been doing this for years. His consistently accurate and assured indication of choral entries imbibed the singers with confidence and they responded to his expressive dynamic interpretations … [Gardner:] A hushed unison start heralded seven movements in which we heard some outstanding choral singing. Excellent dynamic control and accuracy during changes of metre; assured pitching during discordant harmonic sequences, sometimes sung a capella or with a sparse piano accompaniment incongruous to the choral writing. This was a stunning performance, hallmarked by pristine choral ensemble. While maintaining a refined chamber choir sound, the singers also exploited their vocal potential during rousing moments in Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols … This reserve of choral power exploded at climactic chordal moments. Together the voices radiated a wonderful blend … Like sherry and mince pies, The Huddersfield Singers and Daniel Gordon are a winning combination.” ★★★★★

Suzanne Smelt, Huddersfield Examiner, 4th December 2017

A true festive feast to savour [‘A Yorkshire Christmas’]
“Under the direction of Alexander Douglas, The Huddersfield Singers served us a packed programme of Yorkshire flavoured carols in a concert compered by Leeds’ own maestro Simon Lindley. The choir excelled when all voice parts sang together, whether in unison or harmony. Diction was always crisp and the blend sounded fairly well balanced with secure tuning … high standard of ensemble singing … I was pleased to see this choir continue to pursue challenging choral music, throwing caution to the wind … An enjoyable evening of music from ‘God’s own county’ which closed with a vote of thanks from Mrs Susan Wilkinson, the choir’s new president.” ★★★★☆

Suzanne Smelt, Huddersfield Examiner, 4th December 2016

Huddersfield Singers produce a ‘winter wonderland’
“The ladies gave an insightful interpretation of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols […] I enjoyed the pure, bell-like tone of the sopranos› unison singing in the opening Hodie […] Equally impressive was the consistently secure intonation throughout, again notable in the unison passages. Some well-controlled quiet singing added polish. … The choir was equally able to communicate the meaning of Masters of The Hall (Willcocks) with its energetic drive and purposeful performance. Similarly exciting was Sir Christèmas (Mathias) with its perfectly executed syncopated rhythms. … The lesser known A Christmas Cantata by Geoffrey Bush was […] a musical stocking-full of delights for the ear[; …] The Seven Songs of Mary stood out for its well-disciplined polyphonic singing and confident men’s verses … Throughout this evening’s concert I found the singers to be extremely responsive to their conductor Alexander Douglas and with this developing rapport they pulled together to create some lovely and wide ranging choral sounds.” ★★★★☆

Suzanne Smelt, Huddersfield Examiner, 7th December 2015

“The Huddersfield Singers would appear to be the local choir for people who are ambitious to explore all sorts of repertoire and they did well in a number of arrangements by Ward Swingle, including his lightly jazzed-up versions of Elizabethan madrigals […] which also displayed an impressive surge of sound from the Singers. This latent vocal power was something that conductor Alexander Douglas kept in reserve for most of the time, which made it all the more effective when, for example, there was a big crescendo in Sure on this Shining Night, one of the four Nocturnes by Lauridsen that were the centrepiece of the concert. Together, they made a substantial item in which the choir displayed good control and intonation.” ★★★★☆

William Marshall, Huddersfield Examiner, 30th June 2015

A sound performance by the Singers
“We heard a rich choral sound, especially from the basses. The singers worked hard to maintain this level of performance in a programme of challenging pieces that spanned over 500 years in origin. Beautifully shaped phrases featured … Adventurous chromatic passages were sung with secure intonation and tight ensemble … An unexpected highlight was the choir’s committed performance of contemporary piece ‘Remember, O Lord’ (2003) by Jonathan Harvey. Superb contrasts of light and shade were produced and the seamless joining of the choir to the soprano soloist created a magical ending. […] The Huddersfield Singers performed ambitious pieces to a good standard … the choir pushed the boundaries of choral music yet again. Bravo!” ★★★☆☆

Suzanne Smelt, Huddersfield Examiner, 23rd March 2015

“An era ended with this concert, at which Huddersfield Singers conductor Philip Honnor took his leave, after 23 years. … Philip Honnor’s legacy as conductor of the Huddersfield Singers will include the fact that he devised artistically challenging, musically rewarding programmes, often featuring unusual repertoire and rediscoveries. At a time of year when most concerts will revolve around a rather reductionist repertoire of festive favourites, the fact that the Singers and their conductor continue to offer serious but entertaining fare is cause for gratitude among the concert-going public and it is to be hoped that the choir’s new director will display a similar sense of enterprise.”

William Marshall, Huddersfield Examiner, 3rd December 2012

“They are a small, friendly chamber choir with growing horizons.”

Val Javin, Huddersfield Examiner, May 2007

“The choir was well trained by Philip Honnor and sang with good diction and a characteristic clean, well produced tone.”

David Heathcote, Huddersfield Examiner, April 2007

“[They] gave an outstanding performance of an all-French programme notable not only for their vocal excellence but also for consummate mastery of style.”

Adrian Smith, Huddersfield Examiner, March 2005

“A large audience … was treated to a heart-easing programme of early music and Mozart with the Huddersfield Singers providing an excellent response to conductor Philip Honnor.”

David Hammond, Huddersfield Examiner, December 2004

(125th Anniversary Concert)
“[The] Huddersfield Singers celebrated their 125th birthday with the première of Haworth Moor, settings of Anne and Emily Brontë poems commissioned from Arthur Butterworth, whose […] style matches the Singers’ qualities. … The Singers relish complex harmonies and contrapuntal devices […] They have commissioned many works over the years and of Saturday’s three examples – including a song by Gustav Holst, no less – John Gardner’s bitingly ironic Waltzsongs of 1996 were the most impressive.”

Chris Robins, Huddersfield Examiner, 3rd July 2000

“[Joubert’s Martyrdom of St Alban] I doubt if any [previous] readings could have matched the conviction brought to the work by the Huddersfield Singers in the very taxing and demanding choral writing under the sharp and imaginative direction of Philip Honnor. … [a performance] with conviction and musicianship at its very root …”

Paul Conway, British Music Society News, March 1999

“[Kodály’s Missa Brevis] The Singers delivered a highly satisfying performance – disciplined, well-balanced and warmly expressive. [Elgar’s Psalm 48: ”Great is the Lord”] Both choir and conductor revelled in the work’s lush texture and vivid word-painting … great conviction.”

Adrian Smith, Huddersfield Examiner, April 1995

“Some splendid singing, much of it unaccompanied. This choir can Hodie and Wassail with the best!”

Robert Cockroft, Yorkshire Post, December 1994

“Philip Honnor and his forces have worked hard to achieve a standard which is quite enviable but one which is so necessary for the present repertoire.”

Malcolm Cruise, Huddersfield Examiner, March 1994

“The Singers always reward their audiences with performances of high musical stature.”

Adrian Smith, Huddersfield Examiner, December 1993

“The opening bars suggested that a performance of great distinction was about to unfold, and so it proved to be; virtually everything was just right.” [Duruflé’s Requiem]

Adrian Smith, Huddersfield Examiner, March 1993

“A characteristically imaginative programme … displayed their customary flair and musicianship.”

Adrian Smith, Huddersfield Examiner, June 1992

“A highly capable and responsive ensemble identifying themselves as completely as possible with the music which they obviously enjoy singing.”

David Hammond, Huddersfield Examiner, March 1992

“With Messiahs to the right of them and Messiahs to the left of them volleying and thundering, it was no surprise to find the Huddersfield Singers pursuing a different course on Saturday.” [Schütz’ Christmas Story]

Robert Cockroft, Yorkshire Post, December 1991

“If performance standards alone were the key to achieving massive public support, then this choir would be filling halls all over the place.”

Malcolm Cruise, Huddersfield Examiner, March 1991