City of London Sinfonia, King's Lynn

ALISON CROOSE Handel's Messiah is synonymous with Christmas and the packed audience who escaped from the shopping and present-wrapping for a while was treated to a splendid performance of this seasonal favourite.

ALISON CROOSE

Handel's Messiah is synonymous with Christmas and the packed audience who escaped from the shopping and present-wrapping for a while was treated to a splendid performance of this seasonal favourite.

The work was yet another feather in the cap of the CLS which provides such a wide variety of musical delights through its residency at King's Lynn Corn Exchange.

On this occasion it was the charismatic, dancing conductor, Harry Christophers, who skilfully drew together the three vital elements of the work – the wonderful voices of his celebrated choir, The Sixteen (although on this occasion there were 18), the immaculate playing of the CLS musicians, plus four fine soloists, Lynda Russell (soprano), Louise Mott (contralto), Mark Wilde (tenor) and Christopher Purves (bass).

Under Harry Christopher's direction they achieved excellent balance, enabling the audience to gain maximum pleasure from the oratorio.

The orchestration by Mozart was used for what proved to be a sparkling performance throughout which the conductor maintained a spirited pace.

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In musical terms the occasion meant that Christmas really had arrived, especially when the audience was moved to spontaneously rise to their feet for the stirring Hallelujah Chorus. The audience's warm reception said it all.

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