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In Celebration of Early Music

Magnificent Monteverdi Wakefield Cathedral Saturday March 27 2010

There can be few greater challenges for a choir than to perform Monteverdi’s Vespers Of 1610.

This monumental contrapuntal sacred work in Latin, with its frequently changing dynamics, varying use of motet, hymn, sonata and psalm, together with its requirement for the choir to be split into sections to cover as many as 10 vocal parts while accompanying seven soloists, is a daunting prospect.

In the event, The Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir, under the authoritative baton of maestro Andrew Padmore, rose superbly to the challenge.

Accompanied by the 18th Century Sinfonia and the much-broadcast English Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble, the choir succeeded in conveying both the spirituality and operatic drama inherent in the melodic rather than tuneful music.

From the powerful Lauda Jerusalem and Laudate Pueri Domini, performed by two four-part sections of the choir, to the more intimate and lyrical tones of the Sonata Sopra Sancta Maria, the choir consistently evinced a professionalism which belied its amateur status and can regard this performance as one of its finest achievements.

The seven excellent guest soloists skilfully wove many fine threads of their own into the rich fabric of this masterpiece.

Tenors Peter Wilman and Adrian Salmon fully exploited the abundant ornamentation of the score, especially in the liturgical poem Audi Coleum and Duo Seraphim.

Counter- tenor Matthew Lennox and bass Alistair Ollerenshaw were particularly expressive in Ave Maria Stella, while sopranos Bethany Seymour and Joanna Patocs displayed a fine purity of tone throughout.

This was undoubtedly one of those rare musical occasions that not only captivated its listeners but enriched them.

On conclusion of the magnificent performance, the cathedral resounded at length with the applause of the appreciative and uplifted audience.


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