July 2006: Exeter Festival

A rich setting for city chorus

Source: David Marston, Exeter Express and Echo, 18 July 2006

"A big bonus with the Exeter Festival is that our own talent is showcased in superb settings with terrific accompaniment. That was very much the case in a powerful, richly satisfying concert at Exeter Cathedral, where the London Mozart Players helped show off the skills of the Exeter Festival Chorus and Melisma – the choir from the city’s St. Margaret’s School.

The first half was the hour-long Karl Jenkins Requiem. The singers are familiar with his work, having performed his Armed Man in the cathedral in November 2004. He is a modern composer, strong on melody, and here he blends the traditional Latin setting of the Mass for the Dead with five Japanese haiku.
In some ways it’s a strange mix and can appear rather bitty. But it is also a piece of haunting beauty.

Melisma performed the haiku with precision and clarity, while the main body of the mass received a more than accomplished performance from the chorus under exuberant Nigel Perrin. The second half saw Beethoven’s Mass in C Minor. It’s not a piece that makes huge demands on soloists, but Patricia Orr (mezzo-soprano), Sean Clayton (tenor), Hakan Vramsmo (baritone) and particularly Elizabeth Watts (soprano) brought both richness and colour to their contributions, while the chorus left the audience deeply satisfied."