Date: Saturday 23rd June, 2018
Venue: St Andrew’s Church, Sutton-in-the-isle
Programme: Haydn – Heilig Mass
Featuring: Ely Consort, Conductor ~ Matthew Rudd, Piano/Organ ~ Charlie Penn & The Con Brio Chamber Orchestra
There is a particular pleasure to be found in sitting in a gothic church listening to music on a summer evening. That is especially true if the music is by Haydn, surely the composer with the sunniest of all dispositions.
Matthew Rudd marshalled the forces of the Ely Consort and The Con Brio Chamber Orchestra in a sparkling account of Haydn’s Missa Sancti Bernardi von Offida, known as the Heiligmesse after the German tune that Haydn uses in the Sanctus.
The performance perfectly captured the different sides of Haydn’s musical personality. In the Agnus Dei, for example, the contemplative first section exploded into noisy life at the words ‘Dona nobis pacem’. Most composers set these words with reverence and yearning, but not Haydn. The singers and players caught Haydn’s confidence, power and wit, the voices alternating with martial trumpets and pizzicato strings. The mass’s solo sections were well taken by members of the choir.
The selection in the first half of the consort gave the choir the chance to demonstrate its versatility. The first UK performance of David Brunner’s High Flight caught the sense of wonder in the poem by John Gillespie Magee Jr, a Spitfire pilot killed in a flying accident in the Second World War at the age of nineteen.
And there was a rapt performance of Robert Chilcott’s take on Orlando Gibbons’s famous madrigal Silver Swan. This experiment, in which Chilcott adds new words and more musical parts to the Gibbons original, was wholly successful. It had the effect of meeting an old friend in a new and surprising outfit.
Review: Graeme Curry