Anne L Ryan reports on Collegium Laureatum performing Mozart’s Requiem – West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, 31 Mar 2007

Artist Visiting Cambridgeshire
Collegium Laureatum, conducted by Ian Cobb, gave a compelling performance of Mozart's Requiem at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge. This demanding work was Mozart's last, left unfinished in December 1791 and completed by his pupil Franz Zaver Süssmayr.

The tender, pleading opening of the Chorus: REQUIEM AETERNAM (Eternal Rest), conveyed by the choir and orchestra, brought us gently into the piece, introducing us to the first soloist, the soprano, Laura Holmes. A young vocalist with a warm voice, she was in total command of her demanding role. Demonstrating excellent vocal pitch throughout, there were many tender moments, most poignant was her singing TUBA MIRUM - ‘nil inultum remanebit... sit securus?' - which was heart-rending.

The more experienced Mezzo-Soprano, Lucy Taylor's rich velvety voice delighted listeners many times. She came into her own on BENEDICTUS ‘Benedictus qui venit in nominee Domini' (‘Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord') which she sang with deep tenderness. Tenor Julian Forbes sang with light, even strokes, displaying an affinity with the music that was a joy to watch and hear. Gareth John, bass, was in his element. He showed both discernment and compassion appropriately and in equal measure throughout. The RECORDARE solo quartet was especially pleasing with all four voices whirling around the Concert Hall with anguish, grace and delight. Most enjoyable was the ‘call and response' nature of ' Ingemisco, tamquam reus: clupa rubet vultus meus', which left the audience languishing in supplication.

The choir's vocal power was delivered with heady forthrightness, particularly on the Chorus: DIES IRAE. The sopranos showed a delicate, even fragile tone on Chorus: CONFUTATIS MALEDICTIS, ‘flammis acribus addictus, voca me cum benedictis' (‘and consigned to the searing flames, call me to be with the blessed'), asking for help in their last hour. The Chorus: SANCTUS ended with a blissful moment of silence which rang around the Concert Hall.

The final movement AGNUS DEI for chorus and soprano ended superbly. The last two lines ‘cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, et lux perpetua luceat eis'. finished with outstanding vocal power and ensemble accompaniment, which was made more potent when all finished perfectly in tone, time and tune with Ian Cobb's final stroke.

Writer: Anne L Ryan