Marcio de Silva is certainly not averse to taking risks. Many choirs find it difficult to attract enough male singers for normal choral settings. To commence a performance with an unaccompanied setting for double chorus for male voices only was certainly a risk but, in the event, totally justified.
Biebl’s Ave Maria was written in 1964 but has a lyrical quality which harks back to the previous century with its rich harmony and romantic lyricism. The men of the chamber choir filled the church easily with their warm and well-balanced rendition, proving a fine start to a rewarding evening.
The ladies of the chamber choir then joined them for three short motets by Monteverdi. The settings regularly split into six parts, with complex polyphony throughout. If Domine Ne In Furore is more introspective, the flamboyant settings of Cantate Domino and Adoramus Te filled the church with glowing tone.
The final item before the interval was the most unusual. Nunes Garcia was born in Brazil but heavily influenced by the European enlightenment in terms of his settings. The Judas Mercaor Pessimus has a splendidly dynamic impact with great variety of tone colour, which the choir handled with aplomb.
After the interval, the full choir gave us Durufle’s Requiem. The clarity of text was impressive and the Kyrie beautifully crafted. The sudden outpouring of the Hosanna was thrilling in its impact and the Sanctus had a warm lightness of touch. Marcio da Silva himself provided the baritone solos and Lin Westcott brought us the single soprano solo with a gentle lyricism. The unaccompanied Lux Aeterna showed the continued confidence of the choir and the deft handling of their conductor.
Throughout, they were supported from the organ by Douglas Tang who was standing in at short notice and seemed to have a very good grasp of St Clement’s instrument.
This was the final event of a full and highly successful season. The new one opens at St Mary in the Castle on Friday October 13 with an all-Beethoven evening, which will bring pianist Kenneth Broberg to Hastings again, after winning the Hastings International Piano Competition, with a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto The Emperor.
The evening will also include the Coriolan Overture and the Fifth Symphony.
Amongst a large range of events, the Tango Night, on January 13 in the same venue, is sure to be popular after the success of a similar evening earlier this year. Full details of all events and further information can be found at www.hastingsphilharmonic.com and tickets are on sale now.
By Brian Hick.