Verdi's monumental Requiem gave the promoter the perfect opportunity to slip into the programme a new choral work - and what a challenge for a young composer, to come up with something to live alongside Verdi.
Chris Long, commissioned by the Adopt-a-Composer Scheme, chose as his text a valedictory prayer found, or so the story goes, on a victim of Ravensbruck. Framing the prayer-text itself with sections of the Requiem, a clumsily-obvious link with Verdi, Long's O Lord, Remember is quietly sombre without giving in to despair, like the words that inspired it.
Opening with a bell-like motif, it's colourfully orchestrated, and uses the chorus to carry along the text's plea for humanity and forgiveness. It's a persuasive and seriously good composition by an imaginative young composer that should be heard again.
However many times one hears Verdi's Requiem it still astounds with its sheer cheek - how can the service for the dead be so spectacularly alive?
Adrian Lucas' thoughtful control of orchestra and chorus, and four fine soloists, made sure that this was no carnival funeral, although the occasional little glimpses of an Italian village band were there for all to smile at.
The austerity of the Dies Irae was delivered with the right degree of hissing menace, though in the few contemplative moments the choir had too soft an edge compared with the electrifying CBSO.
Of the four soloists, tenor John Daszak got closest to perfection, with sensitivity, wonderful control and great presence, while the elegant mezzo Catherine King occasionally sounded just a little forced, soprano Judith Howarth tended to slide up to her top notes and bass Peter Savidge was just short of imposing. Singing as a quartet in the Lacrymosa dies illa, though, they were simply faultless.