A tremendous evening of two contrasting works
IN A joint concert with Gloucester Choral Society two contrasting works were in Saturday's programme.
Faure's Requiem was composed between 1887 and 1890. The composer stated that generally he composed for nothing – for fun. Of this work he said "Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem."
With a chorus of nearly 300 voices, including 30 choristers from the two cathedrals, conductor Adrian Partington did an amazing job with the contrasting moods in a warm and spacious performance in which the sound was carefully balanced. In Paradisium was particularly effective and his lyricism certainly set his work apart from the grander Requiems. With the number of boys and girls voices it was slightly disappointing to have the pure voice of a treble in the poignant Pie Jesu, although soprano Hannah Grove Atherton gave an adequate rendition. Richard Walshe 's light and unforced baritone was just right for his two solos whilst the singing of the choir was immaculate throughout .
Berlioz's Te Deum was completed in 1849. Like the earlier and more famous Requiem Mass this is one of the works referred to in his Memoirs as "One of the enormous compositions." Originally conceived as part of a grand symphony for Napoleon Bonaparte he eventually decided to use the words in a series of hymns and prayers. There is a martial spirit in the work evident in the massive chords at the opening .The organ has an important part to play and in the capable hands of Ashley Grote the long prelude at the beginning of the Tibi Omnes was expertly played. The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra were in fine form both in their two interludes and as accompanists throughout whilst the experienced tenor Paul Charles Clarke sang his one solo Te Ergo with great feeling. Altogether this was a tremendous evening of choral singing much appreciated by the large audience.
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Congratulations are due to Adrian and all those taking part.