Scarlatti Stabat Mater
St Michael's Church, Dalston
25 February 2006
The Wordsworth Singers under James Grossmith were joined by Carlisle Cathedral assistant organist John Robinson. He started the programme with a Bach Adagio, and then provided the continuo for Scarlatti's Stabat Mater, a long, taxing work with the voices in 10 parts.
The opening built splendidly to a tutti of some grandeur, but there were uncomfortable moments later on.
Small solos emerged from the choir, but Paul Hutchinson and Mary Hitch had longer virtuosic passages. The Amen was impressive, with great waves of sound.
Bach's Organ Concerto in A minor, its vigorous outer movements framing a beautiful aria over a pulsating bass, was followed by Poulenc's Mass in G, a difficult work with angular melodies contrasting with complex legato chord progressions. It was an interesting idea to intersperse the movements with organ pieces by Vierne, but for me it broke the flow and mood.
The Singers performed magnificently. The ethereal Christe eleison floated between the robust Kyries, the chording in the Gloria was spot on, Hosannas rang out in rich chords, Mary Hitch's melismatic solo opened the Agnus and the whole work ended in peaceful resolution.