Dvorak: Stabat Mater
Uplifting thoughts amid the gloom
Dvorak, Stabat Mater,
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Stabat Maters are about Good Friday and have all the gathering gloom of an execution. It is strange, then, that you should come away having heard something so invigorating and life-enhancing.
Beneath the lofty chancel arch of Bury Cathedral, the Essex Sinfonia’s atmospheric opening took us to the hill outside the city wall.
When the voices joined them it was as if figures had begun to ascend Calvary. The choir ranged from passages of intense
sweetness to surges of triumphant praise. There were moments, with soloists in quartet and the choir and orchestra in full spate, when there was an extraordinary torrent of sound.
But the soloists never lost their identity. Each was a strong individual – an expressive bass (Jeremy White), a tenor with an attractive roll in his voice (Marc Le Brocq), a passionate mezzo-soprano (Kathryn Turpin) and a warm soprano (Julie Kennard). The effect of Jeremy White’s voice followed by the mellifluence of the choir was a memorable experience.
The audience was given an intense, emotional, soul-stirring lead into Holy.
Basil Abbott, East Anglian Daily Times