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Review: Vox Luminis and Freiberg Baroque Consort at Norwich Cathedral

PUBLISHED: 10:50 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:23 18 May 2017

NNF17: Vox Luminis and Freiburg Baroque Consort. Photo: Norfolk and Norwich Festival

NNF17: Vox Luminis and Freiburg Baroque Consort. Photo: Norfolk and Norwich Festival

Norfolk and Norwich Festival

A towering masterpiece, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers of the Virgin delighted a capacity Norfolk and Norwich Festival audience in Norwich Cathedral.

The thrilling and energetic performance was given by the dozen singers of the Vox Luminis ensemble from Belgium and the Freiberg Baroque Consort with its cornets, trombones and a theorbo that added rhythmic impetus. The sumptuous opening was deeply impressive, and the sequence of psalms was a kaleidoscope of voices and instruments in changing patterns. Two sopranos sang of beauty with intimate charm, and cherubim echoed one another with precision that commanded rapt attention. Every one of the countless ornaments and flourishes was crisp, every solo individualised and confident. When forces combined, the effect was overwhelming. Only the Marian hymn with its long sustained notes in the second half did not make quite enough impact. But any reservations were soon swept away.

Christopher Smith

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