At the foot of the cross

Wednesday 4th April 2007, St James Priory, Bristol

The Exultate Singers, superbly conducted by David Ogden, presented a concert for Passion week with music from across Europe covering the 16th to the 20th century.

Opening with Allegri's Miserere, this work alternates between plainsong and simple harmonies but is very effective, especially when the solo quartet were placed at the back of the church. The choir produced an effortless purity of tone and incisiveness. Richard May played four movements from Bach's First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello showing supreme artistry.

Two Elgar motets with their haunting harmonies were sung to perfection.

The novelty of the evening was Stabat Mater by the Norwegian compser Knut Nystedt. For a modern work it is quite tuneful with little discordance. Once again Richard May showed his virtuosity while the choir dealt skilfully with the intricate score.

After the interval Domenico Scarlatti's own Stabat Mater, written 300 years earlier, contained some rich music with soft and tender moments before a powerful ending.

David Ogden is once again to be congratulated on the high standard he achieves with his singers.

4 stars

JOHN PACKWOOD

John Packwood, Bristol Evening Post, 5th April 2007
Copyright © 2007 Bristol Evening Post