Beyond the Storm

Yesterday, at Chelmsford Cathedral, I was privileged to attend a performance by the University of Essex Choir and the London Mozart Players.
Richard Bannan: Bass. And a fine replacement soprano whose name I did not catch.
Conductor: Richard Cooke.

Gabriel Fauré – Cantique de Jean Racine
Edward Elgar – The Snow
Igor Stravinsky – Pulcinella Suite
Felix Mendelssohn – Hear My Prayer
Gabriel Fauré – Requiem


Braving Storm Dennis, I arrived bedraggled at this wonderful cathedral only to to find myself uplifted by a new rush of inspiration: the performance of some music with which I was very familiar (the above Stravinsky suite and the Fauré requiem) and the holistic effect breathing new life into them. The Pulcinella was absolutely magnificent, taking me into areas I could never have imagined, combining a Malcolm Arnold symphony or wind ensemble with my late life apotheosis of Stravinsky, the latter composer having brought me into classical music at the age of 14 when a teacher at school played us a record of Rite of Spring in the 1960s. The Requiem here also extended beyond its familiarity into creative spasms of spirituality. The last section also had a striking Philip Glass undercurrent (one that has always been there but unrecognised) by the cathedral organ, I found.
The other pieces were fresh and comforting, particularly the Elgar that was a revelation to me. I note the words were written by Elgar’s wife Alice.
I now very much look forward to this choir’s performance of Bach’s massive Mass in B Minor in May at the Maltings.

My previous reviews of local classical music:

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