The Ten Tors at Tavistock isn’t just mere alliteration – it’s a well-established annual event that truly marks the final countdown to Christmas, in a delightful moorland setting.
While the overall mix hasn’t changed much each year, conductor Simon Ible ensures that the very best use is made of the various performers at his disposal, and this time the emphasis appeared more sacred than secular, though still with just the right number of congregational carols along the way.
The orchestra, led with the now-customary aplomb by Mary Eade, was in particularly good form in Mozart’s Prague Symphony, where the church’s welcoming acoustic added greatly to the clarity of line and precise articulation from the players.
Excerpts from Messiah tend to be par for the course, and while the specially-assembled choir coped well enough, perhaps a greater variety of choruses might prove better, especially when the solo contribution from baritone Alexander Robin Baker wasn’t the most melodious aria in Handel’s entire oratorio.
Corelli’s Christmas Concerto proved an ideal choice, which the orchestra despatched with real verve and panache, aided by some fine playing from cellist Vicky Evans. Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols was an inspired inclusion, where the soloist seemed better able to engage his audience. An impromptu Mozart operatic encore confirmed this, and was where Alexander really came of age at last, much to the delight of the packed audience.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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