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Mosaic pick up the pieces at St Albans Abbey

PUBLISHED: 16:42 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:02 06 May 2010

IT is no exaggeration to say that Mosaic, the St Albans-based chamber choir, now sits on a par with almost any of this country s leading professional choirs, at least as far as quality goes. And Saturday s concert at St Peter s Church in St Albans demonst

IT is no exaggeration to say that Mosaic, the St Albans-based chamber choir, now sits on a par with almost any of this country's leading professional choirs, at least as far as quality goes.

And Saturday's concert at St Peter's Church in St Albans demonstrated the fine approach to music its members and director Nicholas Robinson bring to their performances.

Mosaic set itself a challenging programme of music suitable for Lent and Passiontide which led its audience across the centuries from the 1500s to the present day with composers as diverse as Thomas Tallis and Philip Moore.

Mixed with real favourites such as Thomas Tomkin's setting of the text When David Heard, Palastrina's Stabat Mater and Finzi's Welcome Sweet and Sacred Feast were such rare gems as Pablo Casals' setting of O Vos Omnes and Pierre Villete's Attende Domine.

This concert was a feast of fine and beautiful music exquisitely sung by a group of musicians who regularly produce great music, no matter what form it takes. Their phrasing, dynamics and overall sound quality were really exquisite and Mosaic really did justice to an extremely challenging programme.

But even though Palestrina's Stabat Mater was the highlighted work, the piece which left everyone gasping was Philip Moore's amazing setting of Three Prayers by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran minister executed by the Gestapo in 1945.

Although only composed in 2002 the work is already becoming a firm favourite. Saturday's performance was completely powerful and moving; particularly the completely stunning alto solo in the first section sung by Kristine Jenkins.

St Albans Abbey assistant organist Tom Winpenny accompanied the choir and provided two organ solos, Joies and Luttes from Trois Dances by the French organist and composer Jehan Alain.

The two pieces were a total contrast to the rest of the programme and, although they were expertly performed, they seemed not to fit the mood of the evening.

JOHN MANNING

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