Keswick Hall Choir

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Norwich Cathedral

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

> Norwich Cathedral

Italian baroque church music offered the singers of John Aplin's choir the challenges and opportunities they relish.

The Academy of St Thomas, led by Paul Clarke, provided the orchestral background, with Philip Trzebiawtoski as a fluent continuo cellist. Trumpets added a bright splash of splendour, though David Dunnett and Timothy Patient at the two chamber organs had little chance to shine.

No fewer than five vocal soloists had important roles. Susan Gilmour Bailey and Angharad Gruffydd Jones were both attractive sopranos who sounded even more delightful as a pair.

Benjamin Davies' bass voice carried authority in contrast, particularly when he was not rushed. The tenor, Julian Stocker, had less to offer, and the counter-tenor, David Clegg, was disappointing in tone and diction.

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The Misere by Francesco Scarlatti, is a setting of

Psalm 51. It brought some fine moments in grief and in joy.

The cathedral is a fine venue for sacred music, but the nave was draughty and too cold. A paying public deserves better.

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