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Pearls of the Italian Baroque

St Thomas's Church, Kendal
13 June 2015

This was an evening of truly sumptuous baroque choral music, interspersed with two impressive cello solos by Bach and Vivaldi played beautifully by Cecily Smith.

The Choir, under the expert direction of Mark Hindley, filled the listener with enjoyment and confidence. The luscious music flowed, always with impressive attention to detail, intonation, and dynamics appropriate for a sensitive delivery of the texts.

For some of us, the music was mostly unfamiliar and this provided an extra interest. There were pieces by Lotti, Gesualdo, D. Scarlatti, A. Scarlatti and Carissimi. The choir was happy both with and without instrumental continuo accompaniment. The continuo, which consisted of a double bass, cello and chamber organ added excitement and colour to the choruses and was always played with great precision and sensitivity.

The singers were arranged in various positions depending on the number of voice parts in the pieces, and were obviously experienced enough to be happy with this.

It is impossible to select a favourite item as all were so good, but perhaps Gesualdo’s interesting harmonic progressions in O vos omnes were really well executed, and the expert solo singing in Domenico Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater was impressive. Carissimi’s Missa L’homme armé was a magnificent ending to a wonderful concert which was very enthusiastically appreciated by the audience.

It was a privilege to listen to such a dedicated ensemble who produced a very professional result.

MARGARET PATTINSON