Mass appreciation

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TCS with Truro Symphony Orchestra at Truro Cathedral, Saturday, 23rd April 2016

Beethoven’s “Hallelujah Chorus”…. no, not a misprint – he really did write one as the finale of a now neglected oratorio, and Truro Choral Society President Michael Galsworthy had suggested that TCS might perform it, so they did! Augmented by Cornwall Youth Choir and Truro School Chamber Choir (nearly 200 voices altogether), plus the usual splendid orchestra, they gave a rousing start to this mostly Beethoven evening.

TCS has recently made a feature of showcasing outstanding local young musicians, and Truro School sixth-former Ellie Sullivan’s performance of Schumann’s Abendlied, arranged for oboe and orchestra by musical director Martin Palmer, was an exquisite “song without words” in her last Truro concert before entering the Royal Academy of Music.

Probably the best-known of all symphonies, Beethoven’s Fifth, directed by Palmer, ended the first half of the programme in an inspiring performance, from the famous opening chords, via a warmly lyrical slow movement with glorious lower strings, to a spirited Scherzo and triumphant finale – a real emergence into daylight.

Dating from the same period as the Symphony, but inevitably overshadowed by the later Missa Solemnis, Beethoven’s Mass in C requires the chorus to sing almost continuously for long sections and express many different moods – devotional in the Kyrie, thrilling in the Gloria, with a concluding Agnus Dei contrasting anxiety and expectation punctuated by lyrical horn calls. A strong solo teamsoprano Cheryl Rosevear, alto Shelly Coulter-Smith, tenor Paul Martyn-West and bass Charlie Murray – blended well together, particularly in the Benedictus. Palmer’s direction made a good case for a neglected work, and the chorus still had enough energy left at the end to reprise the “Hallelujah” from the start of the evening, to great acclaim from the large audience. A fascinating and most enjoyable evening.
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton