Baroque of ages: Messiah
Truro Choral Society last performed Handel’s Messiah in the cathedral in 2011. Just like the oratorio’s premiere in Dublin in 1742, it was a sold-out event, and had an eager audience queuing out into the street on a suitably wintry night. Seating was extended up behind the choir and some were even prepared to listen out of sight in the cathedral choir stalls. One who attended was prompted to write to the West Briton afterwards to say, “the whole performance was delivered with perfection”.
What can the audience expect this year? Already the choir is swelling in numbers in anticipation, and as part of the society’s mission to give everyone the opportunity to sing good choral music, especially in the glorious setting of the cathedral, students from local schools have again been invited to take part. We will be accompanied by Truro Symphony Orchestra and four gifted young soloists who have firm Cornish connections. Former BBC Choirgirl of the Year and Royal College of Music alumna Cheryl Rosevear is returning as soprano, while Nicholas Hawker will perform with us again as tenor. Nicholas, formerly a scholar of Truro Cathedral Choir, fits in deputy headship and his position of Director of Music at Polwhele House School with numerous soloist engagements throughout the southwest. Tim Carleston will join us both as countertenor and natural trumpeter; another RCM graduate, Tim has sung with Windsor Castle’s Close Harmony group, Truro Cathedral’s St Mary’s Singers, Three Spires Singers and the Duchy Opera. Truro Cathedral bass Charlie Murray completes our quartet. He has been the recipient of choral scholarships from Truro Cathedral and York Minster, and is a former member of the National Youth Choir.
So, the choir’s excitement is growing, our relentlessly energetic and enthusiastic Music Director, Martin Palmer, is already repeating his mantra of “More text!”, and our stage manager is arranging seating in his every waking thought. Also in our thoughts is Cherry Sheppard, a key member of the Society and friend to many who died suddenly during the summer. This concert will be dedicated to her memory.
We’re hoping for another sell-out performance of course, but if only to be able to share the splendour and majesty of this masterpiece with as many people as possible. Two hundred and seventy years after its composition, it seems Handel’s Messiah shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah indeed.