Variety is the spice of life, they say, and when this applies to programme planning, it can be particularly telling.
Truro’s Three Spires Singers have this off to a fine art. If a vocal work is long enough to stand on its own, then fine. But when it’s not, conductor Christopher Gray doesn’t just pad things out with a few vocal stocking-fillers, but comes up with something more inventive, that makes optimum use of his available singers and players.
The choir opened with Finzi’s God is Gone Up, where the special zing and attack from the youthful-sounding sopranos in particular made a great impression, nicely balanced by strong support from the rest.
The next best thing to a singer can often be a well-played string instrument, and in cellist Barbara Degener’s first-rate performance of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations the instrument certainly did sing, in a performance that despatched the technical difficulties with aplomb, but which never lost sight of the music itself.
Elgar’s Give unto the Lord drew some more fine singing from the choir, and provided an ideal aperitif for the evening’s main work, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 2 (Lobgesang). Here everyone simply gave of their all, encouraged by the highly-assured leadership of violinist Nick Whiting, and buoyed up by some superb solo work from tenor David Webb and, to a slightly lesser degree, sopranos Rebecca Bottone and Kay Deeming.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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