Saturday, 14 July 2012

Dies Irae

On Monday night, I entered the London Guildhall for the first time to watch the awesome EC4 Music perform Verdi's Requiem.

It's now the third EC4 Requiem I've heard, and I have to say, it was a stunning accomplishment. It must be murder on the choir and the soloists, because it's such a demanding and complex piece of music. I was exhausted when it finished, God only knows how the musicians must have felt!

However, they soared through the work with so much passion, enthusiasm and enjoyment that it was truly a pleasure to behold.

The show started off with us all singing Psalm 100 to the old tune - the irony of a dirge-like tune accompanying a "joyful noise" was not lost on me!

The Requiem proper is an awe-inspiring piece of work, with the Dies Irae "catchphrase" repeated several times - which is good, because it's such a lovely bit of music.

Unusually, this Requiem has a lot of "solo" i.e., non-choir, singing. The four soloists were incredible and they delivered their parts wonderfully.

Although the Guildhall is a beautiful venue with surprisingly good acoustics, I did find that not being able to see the choir properly was less than ideal. I also felt that the orchestra slightly overpowered the vocals, possibly as a consequence of the shape of the venue, apparently it was a lot more demanding to project voices in there.

As ever it was an amazing experience to see this extraordinarily talented amateur musical force. I can't commend them highly enough!

1 comment:

Jock Coats said...

Just listening to it now (Solti, Sutherland, Pavarotti, Vienna Phil) and that brass in the second section of the Dies Irae is quite mind-blowing!