Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society at Chelmsford Cathedral
The link with Nelson may be tenuous, but this “Mass for Troubled Times” has remained popular since its première in 1798.
A good choice for choral societies, too, since the part of the chorus is prominent and dramatic. This performance began with a thrilling account of the instrumental introduction, followed by the Kyrie and Gloria, with the splendid soprano of Alexandra Kidgell joining the chorus.
Bass Simon Whiteley had his finest moment in the Qui Tollis, with a beautifully shaped choral “Miserere”. The Credo section, a masterpiece of composition, was well handled; the solemnity of “sepultus est” contrasted with the excitement of the Resurrexit, sustained to the end of the movement.
The choir, and the Aurelian Ensemble [leader Bradley Winand] under Tim Hooper, began the evening with two of Handel's greatest hits: Zadok the Priest – a splendidly magnificent curtain-raiser – and the Queen of Sheba, before giving a fine account of an earlier masterpiece, Purcell's birthday ode Come Ye Sons of Art, in which the countertenors – Tim Carleston and Joseph Cryan – made an authentic contribution, and the brass and drums of the orchestra added colour and brilliance. A large chorus for this repertoire, which did not always match the crisp delivery of the soloists, but, as in the Haydn and the Handel, made a richly textured sound in the sympathetic acoustic of Chelmsford's Cathedral.