Review: Rachmaninov Vespers

Rachmaninov Vespers

St Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn

Sergei Rachmaninov dearly loved the All-Night Vigil he composed in 1915 and it proved a popular choice for the audience which packed the chapel.

King's Lynn Festival Chorus staged the work – intended for the eve of holy days – on Good Friday and it proved doubly poignant for they dedicated their performance to the memory of Muriel Brindle, a stalwart chorus member who died in February.

The setting, too, was ideal. Mrs Brindle was a trustee of the chapel's Friends and sang in the inaugural Festival Chorus concert there in 1977.

The Vespers presented a major challenge to the 100-strong chorus to sing in Russian but under the musical direction of conductor Tom Appleton they rose to the task. He set himself a stern test, too, for he also sang the solos.

Despite a relatively small male section Mr Appleton achieved good balance so the work could be enjoyed to greatest effect.

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The darkened church created the perfect atmosphere for the vespers' simple ancient chant, but unfortunately it was not possible to follow the useful programme notes and translation.

Nevertheless there was no doubting the audience's enjoyment of this moving work.

Alison Croose

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