After our cathedral concert on Saturday, 15th November 2014 – a mixed programme of works by Mozart and the Cornish composers Paul Drayton and Russell Pascoe – we were delighted to have a condensed version of Judith Whitehouse’s review included in the West Briton’s What’s On pages. For the full version, read on below:
“I can hardly believe two years have passed since Truro Choral Society celebrated its 50th birthday in 2012 with commissioned works from our great local composers Paul Drayton and Russell Pascoe. Drayton’s Orpheus made a rousing start to this concert with its atmospheric fanfares, and displayed the composer’s and performers’ dexterity in combining the two main themes.
“Now that Truro Cathedral has a decent concert grand piano, it will be a pleasure to hear some of the great works of the concerto repertoire. Remembering Frances Eagar’s marvellous Beethoven 3 at Newquay, it was no surprise that her interpretation of Mozart’s D minor concerto, with its pre-echoes of Beethoven (including his monumental first movement cadenza), was full of rhythmic drama, making the most of the darker side of the opening, contrasting the serenity of the slow movement while avoiding excessive sweetness, and giving real dynamic passion to the finale. The orchestra, directed by Martin Palmer, were a perfect foil to the soloist, with some particularly gracious wind playing to lighten the mood towards the end.
“If the Mozart concerto hinted at Beethoven, there was more than a hint of opera in his Coronation Mass – a touch of Cosi in the solo passages of the Kyrie to contrast with the solemnity of the chorus made a fine start, followed by a powerful Gloria and evangelic Credo, jubilant Osanna and ravishing Benedictus – the young team of soloists, the soprano Saffron Jones, countertenor Paul-Ethan Bright, tenor Gianluca Paganelli and bass Charlie Murray, blending well. And it was briefly back to the opera house for the Agnus Dei, cheekily ‘borrowed’ from Figaro and sensuously delivered by Jones, with the chorus reprising the opening at double speed with a real sense of joy. Those of us who attend cathedral services are familiar with this setting used liturgically – it’s a great pleasure to hear it in all its dimensions and in such an idiomatic performance.
“And for the finale – what more appropriate than Pascoe’s Music!? I remembered to listen for the tambourine and triangle this time, and there they were – to repeat what I said at its premiere, the combination of simple lyrics and authentically rollicking performance is irresistible. Another splendid evening from Palmer and Truro Choral Society – and some particularly exciting ones to come next year.”