Festival Chorus, Academy of Ancient Music, Aplin

FRANK CLIFF Norwich Cathedral (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


Norwich Cathedral (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

Evening concerts in the glorious setting of the cathedral have their own special atmosphere, and Saturday's combination of the Festival Chorus and the Academy of Ancient Music drew a near capacity audience.

The cathedral's acoustic may be resonant, but the sound is rich and the strings of the Academy sounded superb in a sparkling performance of the last of Mozart's three so-called Salzburg symphonies, K138 in F.

Ave Verum Corpus was Mozart's gift to Anton Scholl. Scored for four part choir, strings and organ, and only a few minutes long it is nevertheless an exquisite masterpiece, and to accept a commission, as Joby Talbot did, for another setting of the same text might seem brave. However, he is a wide ranging musician, and for his setting of Ave Verum Corpus he has produced an attractive work which has a gentle beauty of its own. In both this and the Mozart, conductor John Aplin drew singing of great sensitivity from the Festival Chorus.

The Requiem is Mozart's final work. Aplin adopted generally fast tempi, which, while maybe not emphasising the dark colours of the orchestration, made for an exciting performance.

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With such large numbers and a resonant acoustic, the choral singing sometimes lacked a little clarity, but generally Aplin obtained splendid results, making this a really memorable performance.

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