Review: Poulenc and Fauré at Norwich Cathedral

Norfolk and Norwich Festival' N sculptures at The Forum. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY.

Norfolk and Norwich Festival' N sculptures at The Forum. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Accompanied by percussionist Colin Shaw and a string ensemble, David Dunnett was the soloist in Poulenc's Concert for Organ and Timpani.

The mighty power of the Norman & Beard instrument rang out majestically through the cathedral again and again with quieter, more delicate passages creating a pattern of contrasts in shades of tone and different, less emphatic rhythms.

The cathedral choristers, girls choir, choral scholars and lay clerks started the concert with the ever-popular brief Canticle by Fauré and went on to his Requiem.

Ashley Grote, the master of the music, was the conductor. Not lingering over the more poignant moments of the Mass for the Dead, he always preferred to place the emphasis on its more dramatic, more disturbing aspects.

The sixty or so singers responded with a will, though they also knew the art of moving down from the climaxes for passages of a more thoughtful nature. The balance between the parts was a feature of the performance, and the tenors distinguished themselves with the phrasing and beauty of their long, exposed lines.

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Dhilan Gnanadurai was a vibrant baritone soloist, and the treble Barnaby Shaw delighted the large audience as he stepped forward and sang the Pie Jesu with remarkable assurance.

Christopher Smith

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