The soloists – Paula Sides, Ciara Hendrick, Nick Pritchard and Tim Dickinson were a pleasure to work with, and superb singers, both individually and as a quartet. Thank you, Paula, for committing to come so soon after giving birth. Gorgeous baby, by the way! The orchestra was wonderful, and Helen Tonge played the violin solo so beautifully.
All the hard work put in by Angela Kay, the choir and orchestra over the weeks was well rewarded, and the odd minor glitch passed in a flash. A performance is not simply a matter of accuracy, rather of the musicians conveying the composer’s intent to the audience through their understanding of the piece, singing or playing it with feeling, variation in dynamic, tone, good diction etc. This musicality came across so well and fulfilled Beethoven’s inscription on the Missa Solemnis manuscript: From the heart – may it return to the heart. An audience member said afterwards, ‘I could just listen to that all over again. It was amazing.’ William Ruff, music critic for the Nottingham Post, seems to have agreed.
Many similar comments followed. The choir had a real sense of achievement from having tackled one of the most challenging works in the choral repertoire. As the performance had proceeded without interruption, to enrich the audience’s experience, both audience and performers enjoyed a well deserved celebratory drink afterwards.
The photographs were taken at the afternoon rehearsal.
Thanks too to the Albert Hall staff who were, as always, so obliging.