Purcell School choir astounds at St Albans Cathedral

PUBLISHED: 13:45 09 July 2015 | UPDATED: 13:45 09 July 2015

St Albans Abbey Cathedral

St Albans Abbey Cathedral

Archant

When you take around 170 highly talented young musicians you would expect to have some fine music.

But the standard presented by the choirs and orchestras of the Purcell School at their annual concert in St Albans Cathedral last week far outstripped expectation.

Throughout the concert the standard was outstanding and in some areas it was exceptional.

Brass and percussion featured strongly in the opening work of the concert, Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, an ideal piece to introduce the school’s orchestra, on this occasion conducted by Kevin Hathway.

Although little known, the works of 20th century French composer Pierre Villette are an absolute delight and the performance of three of his religious motets by the school’s chamber choir conducted by head master David Thomas was a highlight.

The standard of performance in the three works was as high as any professional choir as was that of the string orchestra conducted by Charles Sewart in their performance of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

But the highlight of the evening was the performance by the school’s orchestra and choir of Handel’s Coronation anthem Zadok the Priest followed by Mozart’s Coronation Mass.

One of the features of Purcell School concerts at St Albans Cathedral is that young recently-qualified singers are engaged as soloists and this year those joining the choir and orchestra were soprano Ruth McElvanney, alto Nancy Cole, tenor Chris Lombard and bass Jake Muffett. It was conducted by Edward Longstaff with John Longstaff at the organ.

The performance of both works showed the excellent performing ability of the school’s students. Although lacking in the complexity of some of Mozart’s later works, the mass is elegant and very melodic. All those taking part combined to produce a performance of a quality which would have done credit to any fully professional group.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Herts Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Herts Advertiser