This year marked The Exon Singers’ Golden Jubilee, so the closing event of the 2016 annual festival should prove to be something rather special.
Under current conductor and artistic director Richard Wilberforce, the choir got off to a flying start with a well-disciplined account of Bach’s exuberant Lobet den Herrn, with some sterling support from Alan Horsey (organ).
Young flautist Jaymee Coonjobeeharry joined The Zeitgeist Chamber Orchestra in an electrifying performance of Vivaldi’s La Notte Concerto. Conductor Sam Poppleton finely contrasted the mysterious nocturnal goings-on in the opening movement with what was to follow, in a wholly-engaging reading.
Biber’s Battalia, which, despite its seventeenth-century origin, would not be out of place alongside some similarly-dissonant works of today, provided an ideal aperitif for Scarlatti’s attractive Stabat Mater, where the sinuous interweaving of the vocal lines was especially well-managed.
Exon Singers’ President David Hall made his Festival debut conducting Handel’s brilliant and virtuosic Dixit Dominus. True the programme had been worthy of a golden-jubilee celebration so far, but David simply elevated the singers – augmented by some former members – to an altogether higher level, in terms of attack, dynamics, articulation and particular attention to the niceties of word-painting present.
With excellent solo support from sopranos Katharine Fuge and Miranda Heldt, this was certainly one of those performances the like of which you might perhaps hear only once in a lifetime.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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