Requiem a rich and powerful drama
Verdi Requiem, Charter Hall
From the haunting tension of the Kyrie to the final terrifying “in die illa tremenda” this was a mature and memorable performance of Verdi’s operatic requiem.
The University of Essex Choir at Colchester’s new Charter Hall was always stunningly near the emotional centre of the music and their conductor, Richard Cooke, drew rich and powerful drama from the Essex Sinfonia.
The solo quartet was beautifully balanced yet individual performances also shone through.
As the Kyrie died away we were assaulted by a shattering “Dies iria” that returned again and again with ever great ferocity. Threatening drum beats of doom led us into the terrifying whispered “Quando Judex Est Venturus”.
The tension was palpable. The brass octet was cunningly placed above and behind the audience. The prospect of Judgement was there above us in heaven. Particularly strong was the chorus “Salva me, fons pietatis”.
The gentle and balanced duets from Katerina Kudriavchenko and Anne-Marie Owens were punctuated by tenor and bass solos which reached a climax in a heart stopping “Lacrimosa dies illa”.
The power of the final “illa tremenda” was awesome indeed, the silence of the last prayer a sublime and lingering moment for the capacity audience.
Peter Newton, East Anglian Times