The Glories of Venice
Saffron Walden Choral Society / Bishop’s Stortford Sinfonia
conductor Janet Wheeler
Saffron Hall: Saturday 23 March 2019
Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612) and Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) both served as maestro di cappella at S. Marco in Venice. Much of their sacred music was written for festivals and state occasions, the musicians placed around the building.
The glorious sonorities of Gabrieli’s Jubilate Deo (Psalm 100) were captured perfectly by SWCS under the expert guidance of their conductor, Janet Wheeler.
Monteverdi often introduced secular material into his sacred music. Beatus Vir (Psalm 112) is derived from a madrigal and is full of catchy tunes. The tricky changes of metre were overcome without fuss, but some of the tongue-twisting phrases required a smoother approach.
Jauchzet dem Herrn (Psalm 100) by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) made a telling antiphonal effect with its echo chorus. A lovely, breezy performance.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was a native of Venice . His Gloria is well known. SWCS produced a thrilling account, despite some questionable intonation in the slower chromatic passages. Soprano soloists, Daisy Brown and Nia Coleman, were animated and well matched. Heather Lowe (mezzo) made a particular impression with her poised and elegant singing.
The concert began with Vivaldi’s Double Trumpet Concerto, skilfully dispatched by Laura Garwin and Richard Knights. In Marcello’s Oboe Concerto, Julia White produced a creamy tone, eloquently phrased.
The fourteen string players of Bishop’s Stortford Sinfonia, led by Tanya Barringer, were rhythmically incisive, responding to Janet Wheeler’s sensitive direction. Ed Furse and Richard Carr provided the excellent continuo. Mr Carr also featured in a cultured performance of Albinoni’s Adagio.
A delightful concert, much enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience.