The London Pro Arte Choir Directed by Edward Batting with the Espirt Ensemble and soloists Alys Roberts (Soprano) Helen Brackenbury (Mezzo Soprano Oliver Johnston (Tenor) Nick Mogg (Bass)
|Programme for Mozart Requiem|
By the time the Choir entered the church there was not a single spare seat in the building. In fact the stewards seemed to be struggling to find more chairs for the late arrivals.
The opening piece was a Mass by Michael Haydn the "Missa Sancti Francisci Seraphici in C".A piece that I did not know and during this an Organ Sonata No 13 by Mozart was played by the Esprit Ensemble. The large audience seemed to overwhelm the choir at first who started in a tentative fashion, but the overall sound in the church was beautiful from the beginning. The Sonata seemed to settle nerves and following this the Credo was sung and played with a fine rhythm and the soloists also started to warm to the occasion. The Haydn Mass is now on my list of favourites and it works well with the Mozart Requiem.
The Mozart Requiem is one of the most famous and most played pieces in Choral repertoire. Usually I have seen it in large concert halls or Cathedrals. To be in the relatively intimate space of St Michael's was a revelation. It was probably written for a church this size and with the types of forces that the Pro Arte choir brought to the evening. From the opening notes the audience was totally entranced by the sound canvas created by a committed cboir and superb soloists. The choice of blending operatic female voices with chorally trained male voices gave a wonderful sound to the solo passages. The Esprit Ensemble played sensitively and with pace. The proceedings were conducted superbly by Edward Batting.
Such was the excitement that at the end some more enthusiastic members of the audience started applauding before the final chord! Several stage calls later the evening came to an conclusion.
The whole evening was a resounding success. For just £12 ( or free if Under 18) it was a magical occasion. The comments that I heard on the way back onto the Broadway were entirely positive and so my review reflects not just my opinion but also what I heard on my departure from the church.
If you were there why not post your thoughts on this concert in this thread. This site has very high Google Rankings so it would be a great way to support the work of such a fine choir so that others can read your thoughts as well as mine.
So what next for the London Pro Arte Choir? On December 5 2015 they will hold a Carol Concert at St Michael's and for £10 ( And free for Under 18s) this will be another popular evening out for lovers of fine music in London. Tickets are on sale now and worth getting in advance.
In January they will be holding one of their popular Come and Sing Evenings on 14 January which is open to all and well worth a visit. They will provide you with the music and a chance to experience singing Vivaldi's Gloria with these superb singers. For anyone who is a beginner or a seasononed pro looking for some practice this is surely a night that should be attended.
Advance notice: in March the choir will be singing VIVALDI's GLORIA which based on this performance will be one of the hottest concert tickets in North London in 2016. Advance booking is advised for this because it will surely sell out.