Exactly one year after my First Night of the Proms (Season 2015) I am having my personal first night at the Proms of this years season.
A varied European program offered Mozart, Haydn and Faure. Mozarts’s Exsultate Jubilate was the opener of the evening with Lucy Crowe. Her soprano is very clear and clean. Coming from a strong operatic background (most recently as Adele at the Met) she gave a very expressive performance. Yet, the only little criticism is her thin lower registers… lacking a bit in depth and strength there.
Haydn’s Paukenmesse – Missa in tempore Belli (Mass in times of war) gets a different perspective in the light of recent events in Nice and Turkey… the Agnus Dei was incredibly intense and gave me the chills. The soloists, Lucy Crowe, Paula Murrihy, Robin Tritschler and Roderick Williams, very much added to the performance – their voices worked together rather splendid.
After the interval it was time for the 3 different pieces by Faure: Pavane, Cantique de Jean Racine and Requiem – a total contrast to the first half of the program.
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Stephen Cleobury brought the music alive – beautiful dynamics and intensity. The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge was good but not exceptional. I have heard a few boys choirs in concert and I had hope for something a little bit better. Don’t get me wrong – they sung beautiful! Yet, the sopranos managed to be a little out of tune a few times, especially during the Haydn. I have sung this particular piece myself so I am probably much more likely to pick up on the little mishaps than another person.
All in all it was a great concert that left me personally in a bit a reflective state – a Mass and a Requiem are two powerful forms of music with a very simple text yet that put with music can transport you into a different dimension….
Addition: During Proms Extra Chi-chi Nwanoku mentioned that they actually had decided before the performance that the Requiem was to be played as s tribute in the light of all recent events and this definitely did show.