Norwich Philharmonic Society

MICHAEL DRAKE There was much to satisfy and be satisfied with as the chorus and orchestra enjoyed Rossini's dramatic Petite Messe Solennelle.

MICHAEL DRAKE

There was much to satisfy and be satisfied with as the chorus and orchestra (leader Benjamin Lowe), positively conducted by David Dunnett, enjoyed Rossini's dramatic Petite Messe Solennelle.

It is a delightful work and although I am more attracted to the original for pianos and harmonium than this orchestrated version, Rossini's “little skill, a little heart and that is all” is a woefully weak reflection by the composer of its worth.

Essentially joyous for chorus and orchestra, there was, nevertheless, a rather tentative Kyrie first time round from all the forces but thankfully, confidence was quickly gained in this a capella section of well-balanced singing – confirmed later in possibly the most moving section of the work, the Benedictus, in which the chorus were joined by a quartet of soloists.

Apart from that instance and the second half of the Credo, they seemed curiously ill-matched, with soprano Kate Tansey often rather fierce in her approach, Juliette Pochin (mezzo-soprano) struggling to make an impact in the lower register, a light tenor in Paul Badley and over-dominant bass-baritone, Simon Birchall. Earlier there was much to admire in the Gloria, from the initial attack by the chorus with cohesive orchestral accompaniment.

A performance to savour.

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t Norwich Philharmonic were performing at St Andrew's Hall.

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