Over 130 singers, supported by a 50 piece orchestra, together with 4 first-class soloists: Catherine Hamilton (Soprano), Alison Kettlewell (Mezzo-Soprano), Robyn Lyn Evans (Tenor) and Darren Jeffery (Bass-Baritone) will be at the disposal of Christopher Fletcher, Plymouth Philharmonic choir’s Director of Music, when the much-loved favourite, Verdi’s Requiem is performed on Sunday 3 April in Plymouth Guildhall.
Pictured are a small group from the 23 singers who have joined the choir since lockdown. Camille reflected “the spirit of the group is so warm, welcoming and uplifting which makes me confident to be part of it.” And as for the music, “Sometimes I find it so beautiful that I just stop singing to listen to the whole group.”
Having first performed this work playing the orchestral part as a violinist, Briony commented that, “It’s a fantastically written piece with both interest for the orchestra and choir. I love the huge variation between the movements and Verdi’s ability to entwine the themes together.”
Agreeing with Briony, Jimmy said: “It’s great to have found a choir that is doing major choral pieces to such a high standard.” Having sung in choirs since the age of 10, this will be the first time that Benedikt has sung the Requiem. “I am looking forward to a very dynamic and enjoyable concert with all my fellow singers around me and hope that we can create a wonderful evening for the audience.”
This is a work with the greatest of contrasts, both in terms of volume and emotion. At one end of the spectrum the second movement, Dies irae, a depiction of the day of judgement, at times requires the brass players, making up almost a quarter of the orchestra, to play fortissimo-issimo-issimo. Following 4 striking G minor chords the wall of sound is unleashed in a wildly swirling chromatic theme conveying anger and terror. By complete contrast in the final movement one of the quietest musical markings, pppp, is found in the Requiem aeternam (Rest and peace eternal) which has the soprano soloist soaring to a top B flat.
In a later section of the Dies irae there are dramatic shifts in tension and urgency as the choir and soloists join to make the impassioned plea of Salva me (Save me). There is great vitality and energy from the first joyous ‘shout’ of Sanctus (Holy, holy, holy), through to the fanfare ending.
Power and intensity
This is music that will reach to your very core with its power and intensity whilst in the next moment tug at your heart strings because of its sublime beauty. This surely is the concert of the year being held on your doorstep.
Further information, together with ticket prices and availability, can be found on the choir’s website.
top image: courtesy of Nicola White
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