Over-ridden in page CSS

Fields marked with * are required.
Your E-mail address won't be published.
9 entries.
David Machell (Nottingham-based composer, arranger, choir leader, conductor) wrote on 18th January 2023 at 3:38 pm
The impressively re-furnished Long Gallery at Nottingham Castle was the venue last night for a prestigious recital by Upper-voice Ensemble Mirabilé, under the precise but impassioned direction of Conductor Anthony Rose.

Mirabilé delighted a capacity audience with a forward-looking and aspirational programme of delightfully varied choral music.

Romantic composers were well-represented, in the persons of Schubert, Brahms and Rheinberger, but the evening belonged to the contemporary sound-world of Paulus, Wilberg, Ritter, Ešenvalds and the American master-choralist Eric Whitacre.

Mirabilé has a trademark sound of deep romantic warmth. The singers were on home territory with the lush sonorities of the Romantics, but the beating heart of the programme was disclosed to us in the group of songs just before the interval, songs of loss, longing and separation, culminating in Wilberg’s fully-realised and soulful arrangement of the folk-song ‘Shenandoah’ - the wide Missouri, indeed.

Any lingering fear that the upper-voice format would lead to a monochrome performance was quickly dispelled, as the choral composers on show displayed great ingenuity in the selection and blending of the available sonorities of Soprano, Mezzo-soprano and Contralto, both in ensemble and as solos. Tone qualities ranged from the sumptuous (Rheinberger and Brahms) to effortless lyricism (Schubert) and stylish, sassy jazz vocals (Rutter). Add this to Mirabilé’s technical and you had a choral experience to savour; balance, blend and intonation were flawless throughout, even in long a Capella sections - no mean achievement (Ešenvald’s ‘Only in Sleep’),

Mirabilé is blessed with two young soprano soloists at the top of their game, in terms of vocal freshness and characterisation. Hannah Ruth MacDonald showed both power and drama, making the whole Gallery ring to its rafters. She delivered teasing subtlety in a charming Neapolitan song by Donizetti, but, in contrast, understated character and lyricism in Brahms’ ‘An die Nachtigall’.

Samantha Joy Taylor gave us a music-theatre masterclass in Weill’s ‘What good would the moon be’ - Broadway on a stick! - and then took us soaring skywards on an unforgettable flight through the moonlit landscape of Schumann’s ‘Mondnacht’.

Ally Levell had one short solo and impressed with her effortless clarity, leaving us wanting more.

The addition of the fiery but expressive violin timbres of Clare Bhabra and Elisabeth Slater gave refreshing tonal contrast to the voices, from the heart-tugging melancholy of Whitacre’s ‘Five Hebrew Love Songs’ to the symphonic expansiveness of two Elgar part-songs. (One suspects that Elgar enjoyed writing the violin parts as much, if not more, than than the vocal parts!) Bhabra excelled in her show-stopper solo, Kreisler’s gutsy post-baroque crowd-pleaser, the ‘Praeludium and Allegro’.

Susan Foster’s piano, so much more than mere accompaniment, extracted both poetry and drama from the scores, making their fiendish intricacies and complexities seem child’s play. Conductor Anthony Rose joined her to form a most effective piano duet for ‘Shenandoah’ - yet another pitch-perfect splash of tonal variety.

It takes years of intensive collaboration to build the mutual understanding needed to produce work of this quality, and Mirabilé, under Musical Director Rose, has certainly put in the hard miles. He is clearly the guiding light behind this remarkable group of singers. His style is economical and undemonstrative, but always laser-focussed, enabling all his singers to find, and glory in, their self-expression. Their faces tell all.

We have much to be proud of in our lovely City of Nottingham. On this occasion, the gracious architecture of the Long Gallery, with its so-intelligently re-imagined art curation, and our own musical ambassadors Mirabilé richly deserved each other.
Judith Wright from Nottingham wrote on 19th February 2022 at 5:43 pm
On the day when Storm Eunice raged, I braved the elements to the beautiful Southwell Minster and heard Mirabile for the first time. It was spine tingling and my friends and I were blown away in the nicest possible way.
Alastair Gray from Gourock Scotland wrote on 16th June 2020 at 8:13 pm
What a wonderful performance in support of the NHS by Mirabile Vocal Ensemble. We all need to relax and escape from the stress of living through the Corona pandemic and I doubt if there can be a more effective way of doing so than listening to these melodic magic moments.
Loving kindness was never more in demand than now and this video should be shared throughout the country to ensure its maximum exposure.
I hope the choir will follow up with more productions like this in the future.
Admin Reply:
Dear Alastair,

Thank you so very much for your lovely testimonial. We are thrilled to hear you enjoyed our first virtual choir production giving thanks to our wonderful NHS.

We have shared our recording on social media... Facebook, website, Instagram and YouTube of course and would be delighted if you could also share on social media for us. We are hoping to make another recording shortly but it’s true to say, we really miss singing and rehearsing together due to Covid 19.

In the meantime, take care, keep safe and well... sending all our ‘Loving Kindness’ to you.

On behalf of all of us in Mirabile,
Hilary x
Jean Garland from Truro wrote on 11th December 2019 at 1:12 pm
I attended the Mirabile Christmas concert at Wollaton Hall last Sunday evening and felt privileged to be part of such a truly special evening. The magnificent setting and twinkling Christmas trees provided the perfect backdrop to the beautiful blend of choir and harp in perfect union. The Mirabile voices were so pure, flawless and expressive that it made me feel quite emotional. They must surely be one of the best choirs around.
Tracey Davenport, Event Organiser, NSPCC, Mansfield wrote on 20th October 2018 at 12:25 pm
We were thrilled by your talent and the pure beauty of your voices. We truely loved every moment. We look forward to you returning.

'Tundra' can never be heard too many times, such a powerful performance.”
Robert Foreman - Musical Director, choir of St. Peter’s Church, Market Bosworth, Leicestershire wrote on 12th October 2015 at 9:35 am
A concert full of such contrasts and emotions demands not only beautiful singing but great attention to detail, clear phrasing, thoughtful articulation and communication. Mirabilé excelled in all of this. They gave a thoroughly enjoyable performance.
Press review – Terre di Scansano Classica Festival, Italy. wrote on 7th December 2014 at 10:00 am
The beautiful voices of Mirabilé Vocal Ensemble will remain imprinted in our memories for a very long time.
Robin Stapleton – Former Chorus Director, Royal Opera House and Guest conductor, BBC Concert Orchestra. wrote on 5th August 2014 at 11:23 am
I was fortunate to hear a concert given by Mirabilé in a little town in Tuscany. The event was a great success due to not only the high quality of the choral sound and musical interpretation but also the variety and presentation of their performance. In a country noted for choral singing, Mirabilé’s contribution is of the highest quality.
Review - Kirsty Farrelly - Marketing and Operations Manager, Nottingham Arts Theatre. wrote on 15th June 2013 at 9:48 pm
I was lucky enough to listen to the Mirabilé Ensemble at the Nottingham Arts Theatre. I was blown away by the beautiful voices, arrangements and song choices. They were a very friendly group of singers who raised the roof with their voices. Wonderful - do have them for your event or at the very least go and see them, wherever they are singing.