Viva Voce and Norwich Baroque

CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Peter Mancroft, Norwich


St Peter Mancroft, Norwich

Conducted by Jody Butler, the Viva Voce Singers and the Norwich Baroque Orchestra, with Keith Hobday as leader, presented a programme of cheering works. They attracted an audience that virtually filled St Peter Mancroft.

With sprightly style and flexible dynamics, the strings played a Concerto in A by Vivaldi. It served as an admirable overture to his lively Gloria, in which the singers showed that they too knew how to respond instantly to changes in mood and pace.

Though it could have done with two or three more tenors and basses, the choir caught the festive spirit with crisp articulation and without straining.

Sopranos Sarah-Jane King and Alexandra Kidgell and alto Eleanor White made fine contributions, keeping up consistent tone while confidently negotiating florid lines.

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Bach's Magnificate posed greater challenges, calling for rather larger forces, as tenor David Burrows and baritone Geoff Davidson joined the female soloists, and trumpets, woodwind and drums reinforced the orchestra.

There was plenty to admire, particularly in fluent oboe playing and Phillip Trzebiatowski's elegant cello continuo part. But difficulties arose over balance.

Spurred on by the brass the instruments rang out splendidly at the start. By contrast, the entry of the chorus came as an anti-climax, and later more considerate accompaniment would have helped the soloists. Fortunately all came good when the singers found energy for the resonant finale.

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