A CAPACITY audience at Durham Cathedral enjoyed a moving celebration of the region’s cultural heritage, captured in the works of two local composers.

The Durham Choral Society and Orchestra, under the baton of Michael Summers, opened with the keenly-anticipated premier of Will Lang’s Canny at Neet, Bonny at Morn.

A new commission by the society, it depicted four aspects of the region through magnificent arrangements of traditional and contemporary folk music, song and dance.

Sea Coal, evoking the cry of sellers as they plied their trade, was conveyed with haunting effect by the choir, with the music flowing seamlessly into an affectionate rendition of Water of Tyne.

Representing the mines, Byker Hill featured earthy bass lines overlaid by soaring female voices.

Among many other highlights were finely-crafted accounts of The snow it melts the soonest and Where ravens feed.

Accompanists included folk fiddler Niopha Keegan of Unthanks and Northumbrian piper and accordion player Alastair Anderson, along with Michelle Broderick and Joanna Lindsay-Dunn.

In the middle was a sunny rendition of Vivaldi’s Gloria in D, with sterling solos from soprano Camilla Harris and mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Zielinska.

Will Todd’s concluding Gala and Gloria packed an emotional punch, with bass baritone Timothy Murphy’s giving a powerful delivery of All our scattered towns come marching.

Adding to the spirit of the Miners’ Gala was a rousing performance by the NASUWT band, marching under the Dawdon Miners’ Lodge banner.

The work was rounded off by a recording of the Cathedral’s pealing bells.

It was an uplifting evening for all concerned.