Music of two lands

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.

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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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