Mendelssohn's Elijah 2011

“The Proms and Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah; two great 19th-century institutions. On Sunday night, they came together. Apart from the vine-tendrils of microphones hanging from the ceiling, the scene could have come from one of those etchings of 'monster concerts' you find in old editions of Punch. Ranged across the back were the singers, hundreds of them. The few grey heads belonged to the Wrocl/aw Philharmonic Choir, the others were fresh-faced singers from Taplow Youth Choir, Ulster Youth Chamber Choir, Chetham’s Chamber Choir, and the North East Youth Chorale ... In front of me, an Italian visitor to the Proms was dabbing his tears. We may mock Victorian high-mindedness, but it hasn’t lost its potency yet.”The Telegraph

“The singers of the Gabrieli Consort were augmented by the forces of the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, with whom they’ve co-operated before, and four youth choirs. Exceptionally precise singing — not a word muffled, despite the size of the Royal Albert Hall. Conducting this many singers at once is difficult, but here they were so well drilled, that no-one fluffed an entry. Perfect co-ordination, but even better, great enthusiasm and committment.

Perhaps it’s because the music is so 'singable'. When the people call out to Baal, their calls are met by silence. These singers seem to listen! Blocks of male and female voices alternate and interweave. 'Thanks be to God! He laveth the thirsty Land!', the voices sing. Mendelssohn builds into the wild cross-currents images of wind and rain, thundering into parched ground. There are so many exquisite passages, it’s hard to pick out the most beautiful. 'He, watching over Israel, slumbers not, nor sleeps' for example, where the words 'slumbers not nor sleeps' repeat in lovely tender patterns. Such delicacy from such a huge chorus. The final 'and then shall your light shine forth' was a glorious apotheosis. Elijah has ascended to Heaven in a fiery chariot ... Of these 300 voices, 181 are the voices of children from four youth choirs who participate in the Gabrieli’s Youth Coaching Project. This is an important part of the Gabrieli mission. Even though young voices break, by being involved, the singers learn the physical joy of singing and appreciate music better whatever they might go on to do in life. Singing is a community experience, and enhances life. These young voices are so well trained that there’s no lapse in standards. Indeed, their freshness adds excitement to the performance.”Opera Today

“Joining McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and Players (in doubled numbers) were four British youth choirs and Poland's Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. As a flagship concert for the new Gabrieli Young Singers' Scheme it was an impressive feat. So powerful was the first choral intercession 'Help, Lord!' that you almost expected a response from the heavens to end the performance then and there. But aside from the raw impact of so many voices, there was a clarity of articulation and musical intent that belied the bulk of the chorus and spoke of the world-class training these young singers are receiving.”New Statesman

“It is the choir that is the heart of the piece and the performance. All ages, joyful, uninhibited yet unanimous, they carry all before them … Has unison singing ever been so thrilling?”Early Music Review

“The choral singing is a marvel...”The Sunday Times