November 2005: Handel Messiah

Handel: Messiah

Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Express and Echo

Source: Margaret Smith

"Familiar as it is to so many, Handel's much-mauled oratorio almost always seems to pop up fresh as a daisy and the performance given in Exeter Cathedral by Exeter Festival Chorus and The Sinfonietta was certainly no exception.

With Andrew Millington at the organ and Peter Adcock, harpsichord, the soloists made an excellent team, without any apparent weaknesses. Lorna Anderson was the soprano, William Purefoy, counter tenor, and Quentin Hayes, baritone. Unluckily, Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks was indisposed but luckily, Gwyn Evans was able to join the group at short notice to take the tenor role.

Nigel Perrin, conductor, with Richard Studt, leader of the Sinfonietta, are a splendid duo who work well together and produced a wonderful range of warm and textured sound.

That great testing piece, “I Know that my Redeemer Liveth”, was sung by Lorna Anderson with feeling and purity of tone, and “Rejoice Greatly” positively skipped along. But all the solo items were excellent.

That famous highlight, “The Trumpet shall Sound”, was vivid and full and the great choruses came over really well, with an unexpected burst of spontaneous applause for the powerful “Hallelujah”. The rhythmic bounce of “For unto us” was infectious, and the final great “Amen” rounded off a truly satisfying performance."