On paper, Saturday’s concert from the City of Birmingham Choir may have looked a bit credit-crunch cheapskate (wot, no orchestra?), but the resourceful little group of instrumentalists conductor Adrian Lucas secured punched well above its weight.
Foremost was Thomas Trotter (nobody knows the Town Hall organ better), who also gave us a solo Prelude et Fugue sur le nom d’Alain by Durufle, but cellist Richard Jenkinson, harpist Tanya Houghton and percussionist Huw Ceredig all played a keypart.
And this venerable choir, only one year behind the 90-year-old CBSO, sang with blending and diction, covering a huge range of dynamics.
Parts of Bernstein’s glorious Chichester Psalms were a mite too well-behaved, with the wonderful finale perhaps over-rigorous. George Bullock was the self-possessed, otherworldly treble soloist. Baritone Nicholas Perfect brought dignity to his tiny contributions in the Durufle Requiem. Worcester Cathedral Choristers joined the main choir in this seamless account of a work which seems so superfluous when we already have Faure’s ineffable Requiem, and which just seems to have the effect of a narcoleptic drip.