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If only Mozart was there

9 March 1991

 

If Mozart could hear Saturday night's concert by Market Harborough Choral Society, I've no doubt he would have been ecstatic.

In this, the composer's bicentennial year it was fitting to include his exhilarating Exsultate Jubilate written for soprano and orchestra.

The delicate build of soloist Catherine Mason belied her full-bodied voice, which was an absolute delight - one of the most satisfying heard at a Society concert for some time.

The choir, too, honoured Mozart with a particularly well controlled rendition of the popular motet, Ave Verum Corpus, sung with feeling.

But control was sadly lacking where the visiting Leicester University Baroque Orchestra was concerned.

Haydn's Farewell Symphony left too much to be desired. Lack of cohesion and strange rumblings in the lower string section, among others, was not pleasant on the ear.

It's a novel, but dreary piece, so-called because the players gradually rise and leave, until just two remain. Some of the audience may have been tempted to follow suit.

However, the well-balanced choir than made up for any shortcomings in Vivaldi's Magnificat, from its forceful, four-square opening onwards.

But it was Haydn's Saint Nicolas Mass which topped the bill. It's a tuneful piece offering scope for both chorus and soloists - the latter being a finely blended quartet in Jennifer Bunce (alto), Mark Cartwright (tenor), Howard Tsai (bass) and Catherine Mason again.

Sadly the work is minus a bass solo, so let us hope that Mr Tsai makes a return to Market Harborough so we can hear his fine bass voice in all its glory.

Well done to the Choral Society and its musical director David Johnson for a tightly know choral performance.

by Gordon Birch