June 2010: Monteverdi Vespers

Exeter Cathedral, Saturday 26 June 2010 7.30pm

Source: David Batty (from a review published in the Express and Echo on Saturday 10 July).


Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 are a mixture of his compositional skills, including conventional movements of the Vespers, motets, settings of psalms and a large-scale Magnificat.  That this is no dry and dusty work was amply demonstrated last Saturday evening in Exeter Cathedral, in a splendid performance given as part of the Exeter Festival by the Exeter Festival Chorus under its director Nigel Perrin.  Six fine soloists (Faye Newton, Philippa Hyde, Nicholas Mulroy, Joshua Ellicott, Eamonn Dougan and Francis Brett) and the impressive period sounds of His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts contributed hugely to a rich and diverse musical experience.

One of the most remarkable features of this work is its rhythmic vitality and brilliance which the choir sustained impressively.  In between, the soloists sang beautifully, blending wonderfully together.  The instrumental ensemble had a particular chance to shine in the mainly instrumental Sonata sopra Sancta Maria in which the chanted prayer saw a brief but effective contribution by choristers of Exeter Cathedral.

The packed audience's enthusiastic applause at the end of the concert confirmed that when performed to such a high standard, Monteverdi's Vespers are one of music's most life-affirming experiences.


Source: Anne Wood

Last night’s concert was absolutely superb, and I really think EFC surpassed itself with this performance! We are regular supporters of many choirs, including EFC, and have always been impressed by the standard Nigel Perrin achieves, but the Monteverdi concert in Exeter Cathedral on a perfect summer evening was quite outstanding.

The orchestra was also quite superb, and your soloists just perfect for this work.

In all, it really was a fantastic evening - well worth driving over an hour to Exeter for such a choral treat!