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REVIEWS

Review - 26 November 2011

MOZART REQUIEM and SCHUBERT MASS IN B flat major

26 November 2011 at the Castle School

Thornbury Choral Society, under their Conductor Steven Kings and with the Bristol Ensemble gave us another inspiring evening on Saturday 26 November at The Castle School with their performance of two settings of the Mass.  These works were the lesser known Schubert setting in B flat followed by the well loved Mozart Requiem.

The Schubert work featured in the first half of the evening’s programme.  The short opening introduction from the orchestra led into the Kyrie where the singing of the Choir was nicely balanced with the orchestra.  This contrasted well with the short passages for the four soloists.  The first solo came from the soprano (Linda Gerrard) who took an operatic approach to the work.  The other soloists were Louise Tucker (alto) Richard Rowntree (tenor) and Steven Foulkes (bass) who formed an atmospheric quartet for the Et Incarnartus section of the Credo.  This contrasted with the full toned singing of the Choir in the earlier parts of the movement.  The difficult tempo change for the Cum Sancto Spiritu section was successfully negotiated and it was clear that the Choir had been working hard on improving their diction with clear enunciation and entries particularly at the start of the Gloria.  Whilst this work is not as well known as the more often performed Schubert masses in G and A flat, an enjoyable performance was given

For the Mozart Requiem the orchestra was slightly augmented and produced a flowing introduction before the Choir’s confident entry to the Kyrie.  A brisk pace for the Rex Tremendae was matched with precise entries from the Choir.  The excellent quartet work from the soloists was interspersed with well executed contrasting choral passages for the Choir capturing the spirit of the work.  The choir also presented some good dynamics contrasts in the Hostias section which was maintained in the later movements.  The steady pace of the final Cum Sanctis allowed the fugal writing with both themes to be clearly heard above the orchestral tutti as the work reached its triumphant conclusion.  A most enjoyable concert which was very well attended.