All the artists taking part in this concert to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 disaster gave their services free. Proceeds from the evening are being donated to The Fire Fighters Charity.
Beautifully marshalled by conductor Mark Lee, they made this an evening to savour listening to music which invariably stirs the emotions and lingers in the memory.
My late mother-in-law, who was a wizard at making home-made jams, always used to declare that half of the secret of her success lay in the fact that she always used top-class fruit.
When it came to choosing the content for this memorial concert the choir musically followed her advice, selecting Verdi’s magnificent Requiem with which to showcase their vocal talents.
This epic musical setting of the Roman Catholic Mass was originally intended for four soloists, double choir and orchestra. The work which has all the right ingredients to make a wonderful musical experience found an ideal chef in the form of conductor Mark Lee. He may not have had anywhere near the 1,200 strong choir who were on hand for the first London performance of the work in the Albert Hall, but he made excellent use of the voices available to him and with orchestra leader Mark Bunker following his every precise instruction to the letter, skilfully blended together players and singers.
There were moments when the balance was not perfect between orchestra, choir and soloists, but these were mainly restricted to those occasions when everyone was straining for a big effect. Some of the warmth in soprano Naomi Harvey’s voice disappeared when she had to produce a sound great enough to be clearly heard over a full orchestra and choir. This did not prevent her from fully accepting the opportunity to show the breath of her vocal talents in the final Libera me.