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Review: Solihull Choral Society does Mozart Requiem and Vespers

The choral society gave a strong performance at Olton Friary

Solihull choral Society performing at Olton Friary

Wall to wall Mozart in a beautiful church is perfect anticipation for Easter, now on the horizon.

However conductor Andrew Fletcher had interesting balance challenges with his large forces.

The usual problem of imbalance between choir voices was not helped by their 17 men being partly hidden behind the splendid phalanx of women, who in turn, were fronted by the substantial chamber music skills of Queen’s Park Sinfonia.

Four young solo singers were to the fore, all adding to a very full sound in this magnificently resonant space.

Vespers K339 set the divine atmosphere; Mozart’s final work for Salzburg Cathedral. Soprano Ruth McElvanney and mezzo Elspeth Marrow’s tone could have blended more convincingly, possibly risking more drama but with less-permeating top soprano tones. Enthusiasm from the choir was enhanced by a truly sensitive solo trombone, a delight to hear.

Mozart’s Requiem K626 was unfinished, with parts of the score remaining in skeletal form when he died – so, perhaps not 100% Mozart throughout, but a much loved masterpiece nevertheless.

Fine orchestral playing included neat semiquaver passages, lovely snatches of solo violin and again excellent trombone solos and general instrumental support.

Choir intonation was a worry at the messy beginning of Offertory, but tenor Chris Fitzgerald-Lombard and bass Daniel d’Souza added to the overall musicality with a sense of drama and true involvement.

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