Working together, backed by an enlarged orchestra, the breadth of experience of the massed choirs ensured the depth of expression and sustaining of power needed to make the cataclysmic zero tolerance of Verdi's Day of Judgement (Dies Irae
) both theatrically terrifying and musically terrific.
The opening Kyrie was massively positive and a quite magnificent Dies Irae
followed from Michael Parle.
Baritone Nathan Berg serves up a gorgeous, clear tone in the "Tuba Mirum" opening of the "Dies Irae
," penetrating perfectly above the orchestra John Tessier pipes in with his bright, ringing tenor, Marie-Nicole Lemieux with her transparent contralto and Karma Gauvin with her soaring soprano.
192]) and loose inte rpretations that ride roughshod over questions of genre ("one might hear a quadrille taken from the Dies Irae
of some mass" [p.
And the apparent insistence on metrical rather than verbal stress simply confirms one's suspicion that the verse of the Dies irae
is in fact doggerel:
Occasionally this led to some over-deliberate tempi, such as what should be a rampant Dies Irae
(perhaps he was governed by the mushy Albert Hall acoustic, though the Coventry Cathedral of 1962 was even worse) and in a Lacrimosa which all but dragged its feet, but certainly in the broadcast detail was always clear (so clear that we could hear the noise of the chorus occasionally retaking their seats).
Along the way there was a honeyed Kyrie, a Dies Irae
suffused with a marvellous cacophony of hand-clapping and foot stamping, exquisite guitar playing through the Confutatis, and delicious vocal harmonies in both a non-requiem Alabanza and the more traditional Agnus Dei.
Repeated tones of the Dies Irae
from the Requiem Mass added to the emotive power of the work.
The Dies Irae
was particularly sprightly.So, too, was the Sanctus, while the Lachrymosa was suitably thought-provoking.
This was an intelligent selection of Merthyr-born Parry's work, including among others Dies Irae
, an excerpt from the opera Hywel a Blodwen and - the natural finale - Aberystwyth.
The nine movements fall into two groups differentiated by harmonic language and gesture: Introitus (1) - Ave rerum corpus (3) - Agnus Dei (6) and Dies irae
(2) - Rex tremendae (5) - Tuba mirum (7) - Lacrimosa (8), with the Lux aeterna (4) and Sanctus (9) inhabiting both worlds and acting as midpoint and apotheosis respectively.