Sing UK is a great idea, bringing young voices together and assembling them into a substantial choral force to perform major repertoire.
Worcestershire Young Singers is one such result, and on Saturday these students from several county schools delivered the Mozart Requiem with a heartwarming freshness of voice (even from the experienced adult singers stiffening their ranks), enthusiasm, and joy in the discovery of this wonderful music.
What a pity, then, that this performance of Mozart’s deathbed masterpiece was largely slick and heartless under Malcolm Goldring’s direction. The Dies Irae was helter-skelter after a brisk Kyrie Eleison, there was little sense of stature and awe in Rex Tremendae, and, despite the efforts of a fine quartet of soloists, the emotion in Recordare was sadly lacking.
The English Symphony Orchestra played efficiently, with wonderfully sonorous and agile trombones doubling the voices in Mozart’s many fugal passages. But it was distressing to hear one of the most sensitive timpanists I know being asked to play so aggressively. Perhaps the acoustic required such an approach from the conductor.
Bob Chilcott’s Jubilate, at times groping towards Stravinskyan glitter, was willingly given by these youngsters, but Mozart’s Symphony no.39, bizarrely tuned to a piano which had no further part in proceedings, sounded like something as heavy as by a third-rate wannabe Beethoven.
Rating * * *