Battle Choral Society treated us to an enchanting evening of Mozart on Saturday, November 29, the programme was well thought through and featured Mozart’s Requiem as it’s central work.
Both choir and orchestra were an impressive sight in the magnificent setting of Christ Church St. Leonards, and the capacity audience was appreciative of the enthusiasm and commitment that went into planning such an event.
The concert opened with Misericordias Domini, a short liturgical piece composed in 1775. After a slightly shaky start the choir blossomed into a full and cohesive sound under the seasoned baton of John Langridge. The fugal entries were well defined and the build up was powerful with choir and orchestra combining forces in a rousing finale.
Mozart’s 40th is arguably his most well-known symphony and Battle Orchestra led by Pat Beaument gave us an excellent rendition. The tempo of the first movement was quite careful but it had a good sense of style and some lovely woodwind lines. Nicely articulated dotted rhythms in the slow movement led into the final movements, which featured some very nimble string passages and lovely sustained suspensions from the first oboe.
Composed in 1791, the Requiem was commissioned by Count Walsegg, a music lover and philanthropist, to mark the death of his young wife. Mozart’s own health was fading and he actually died before the work was completed. The Requiem received its’ first performance at his own funeral. Mozarts’ wife Constanze approached several composers to finish the work, most notably Süssmayr, who is reported to have composed the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei.
The Requiem would originally have been performed with a more intimate ensemble but the full-bodied sound of tonight’s eighty-strong choir and augmented orchestra lent drama and excitement.
Jessica Leschnikoff’s distinctive soprano soared in the Introit and she was joined by, Emily Steventon, Gary Marriot and Michael White for Tuba Mirum and Recordare. The quartet settled into a good working relationship with some lovely moments from all four singers. Emily Steventon’s beautiful tone shone through and Gary Marriot’s strong tenor and excellent communication with the audience was engaging. Michael White added gravitas with his resonant bass baritone.
The performance was altogether a triumph and hugely enjoyed by the audience. Another great achievement for John Langridge and Battle Choral Society.