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Music of two lands

PUBLISHED: 15:54 14 March 2001 | UPDATED: 15:04 22 October 2010

Norwich School Choral Society @ Norwich Cathedral.

Norwich School Choral Society @ Norwich Cathedral

By MICHAEL DRAKE

Students were augmented as usual by parents and friends last night, and joined by school instrumentalists, equally expanded, in a somewhat strange mix of English and French music and conducted by Colin Dowdeswell.

After a stirring opening with student organist Bertie Page's spirited Fugue sur le carillon, a school report on proceedings might have read: “A very fair effort, especially in Poulenc's Gloria.”

Although dominated by the topline of voices the choir caught the dancing rhythm of Laudamus te and despite labouring behind the beat, captured a great deal of the mysteriousness of the final Qui Sedes with the Orchestra (leader, Lucy Rivett) adding much impressionist colour.

In this work East Anglian mezzo-soprano Fiona Hammacott made her first appearance of the evening, her clear, firm voice being beautifully placed for every note of the two Domine Deus sections.

Total character change was also well projected in Purcell's Dido's Lament and even more so in the Habanera from Carmen.

Frank Bridge's Adagio in E for organ was impressively constructed by student Fraser Wilson heralding Parry's Blessed Pair of Sirens where the choir were at their most expansive.


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