“The [Huddersfield Singers], conducted by Alexander Douglas, opened this concert of Music for Lent and Easter with Elgar’s ‘Great is the Lord’ (1912). 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 in the Baroque motet ‘Crucifixus’ (early 18th Century) by Lotti. Adventurous chromatic passages were sung with secure intonation and tight ensemble, as was ‘Pater Noster’ (1926) by Stravinsky.
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… More ‘looking up’ from more members will result in not only good, but excellent, ensemble singing. Nevertheless, the choir pushed the boundaries of choral music yet again. Bravo!”
Suzanne Smelt, Huddersfield Examiner
“Understanding the relationship between blues, gospel and jazz is key and in Alex Douglas the commonality of the African-American spiritual and the piano were explored, thereafter providing a master class in the art.”
Tim Stenhouse, Jazzwise
“Alexander Douglas is a contemporary jazz musician…who also has a deeply enduring love for the Lord… [Songs of the Heart] was…artfully constructed and beautifully sung. Douglas’s oblique piano interludes provided some welcome moments of introspection, evoking the complexities and challenges that faith presents…”
James Griffiths, Guardian
“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. [One of these was] The Silver Swan, 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.
There was attractive vocal variety in two numbers that featured only the high voices – the standards A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (featuring some quite complex chords sung well in tune) and a lively Fly Me to the Moon.”
Wiliam Marshall, Huddersfield Examiner
“…[sounding] like Cecil Taylor and Erroll Garner rolled into one.”
Michael Church, Independent
“…[his] piano playing had all the authority of a hatless Thelonious Monk…”
“…[Alexander’s] jazz skill shone through.”
John Packwood, This is Bristol