Mozart Requiem March 2018

Mozart InsetThe Lord Mayor’s concert, 10 March 2018

Exeter Cathedral

Haydn Te Deum for the Empress Marie Therese
Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622
Mozart Requiem in D minor, K.626


The programme began with Haydn’s Te Deum for the Empress Marie Therese. This made a strong and impressive start to the evening, capturing the confident, cheerful vivacity of Haydn’s music. This was well-disciplined choral singing that was a pleasure to hear…

To complete the first half, we were treated to an exemplary performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. With a professional orchestra and a professional soloist performing some the most beautiful and sublime music ever written in one of the loveliest cathedrals in England, everything combined to make this a most memorable evening. Jordan Black, the young soloist, performed on a basset clarinet, the instrument for which this concerto was originally written, with a slightly lower range than the modern clarinet. His dextrous and deft facility and the Sinfonietta’s performance met with rapturous and well-deserved applause…

After the interval came another favourite, Mozart’s Requiem. The choral singing was confident and infused with a sense of the terror of death. In the Tuba mirum, we encountered all four soloists together for the first time – Natalya Romaniw, soprano; Marta Fontanals-Simmons, mezzo-soprano; Oliver Johnston, tenor; and Tristan Hambleton, bass… The Rex tremendae displayed effective choral declamation, which the choir clearly enjoyed, and communicated a great sense of power. After the Lacrimosa, much of the rest of the piece is reconstruction work rather than original Mozart. It is such a pity that he was unable to complete it before his all-too- early death – but there is much of great genius still to revel in here…

The evening was a resounding success. The choir clearly understands the expressive content of the music performed and is well worth coming to hear and support. The society is to be congratulated for supporting such communal music-making, which is such a vital part of the artistic life of our city. We are indeed fortunate to have the Sinfonietta come to Exeter to perform. Exeter Philharmonic Choir is also fortunate to have appointed such a talented and energetic new conductor in Howard Ionascu. May they all prosper and flourish!

Excerpts from a review by Nick Horton

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