Verdi Requiem concert review from author Julian Hellaby
The Verdi Requiem concert in Arundel Cathedral on Saturday 9th April was well received, with over 350 people in attendance. Among the audience was a pianist, teacher, lecturer, examiner for ABRSM, adjudicator and author Julian Hellaby (www.julianhellaby.com).
The Arun Choral Society (who held the concert) sought permission from Julian, who said: “Last night’s performance of the Verdi Requiem in the magnificent setting of Arundel Cathedral given by the Arun Choral Society and the Sinfonia of Arun produced some equally magnificent music-making.
“Director Dr Joe Paxton kept a tight grip on the ensemble throughout and showed himself alert to the work’s varied moods from the subdued, pleading, opening to the fire and brimstone of the ‘Dies Irae’. He produced some subtle rhythmic nuancing from both orchestra and choir, and was in complete command of the the bigger moments.
“The choir sang with a full-bodied tone and an impressive dynamic range, and the venue’s generous acoustic gave added value to the sound. The excellent choral and orchestral forces were complemented by four splendid soloists. Andrew Rawlings produced some fine tone and ringing high notes in the tenor show-piece ‘Ingemisco’, and mezzo-soprano Deirdre Arratoon sang throughout with warmth, finesse, and sincerity.
“Bass-baritone Owain Gwynfryn commanded all the vocal resources to deliver with ease, resonance, and authority, and Jessica Wise sang with a clear, focused, soprano; ever alert to the music’s sense of line, she was especially affecting in the ‘Requiem aeternam’ section of the closing movement.”