Alnwick Castle

Alnwick & District Choral Society

President, Her Grace, Elizabeth, Duchess of Northumberland

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review ~ Mozart's, Mass in C Minor with Conductor Colin Start, 24th June 2006.

"In celebration of one of the world's greatest composers"

THIS year's 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart is being celebrated in a vast number of varied places throughout the world. He counts among the greatest of composers. His enormous and generous talent led him to compose great music which is always illuminating and can almost invariably sung, making him one of the most loved and least controversial of musicians.

There is no surprise that Colin Start, director of the Alnwick Choral Society, should choose to hold a concert entirely of Mozart's work to mark this occasion.

The choir has sung much Mozart before and several years ago went to Prague with its director and sang in some of the places that mozart himself visited. This year they sang in Alnwick Playhouse on Midsummer's Day before a large audience.

As an overture the orchestra played an Adagio and Fugue, well-known but obviously under rehearsed. The concert really started with the choir in good voice, with three short pieces they knew well and enjoyed: Sancta Maria, K.273, Inter Natos Mullierum, K.72, and Ave Corpus, K.618.

Closing the first half happily, Wilma McDougall (soprano) sang Exultate Jubilate, K.165, an early Motet, amazing and a great joy.

The concert's second half was fully occupied with the Mass in C Minor, an unfinished work of 1782-83, K.427, but nevertheless a most considerable achievement, containing some of Mozart's best choral music.

Colin Start and the choir performed extremely well. Wilma McDougall was joined by other soloists - Catherine Benson (mezzo soprano), who travelled from Shropshire to sing at very short notice in place of Arlene Rolph who was indisposed, which was not announced at the concert, Austin Gunn (tenor) and Tim Jones (bass).

It is doubtful if Mozart, dead early and into an unmarked grave, ever thought that his music, flowing so radiantly and simply through him, for the church, theatre, concert hall and the privileged private party, would ever survive as long as this. But it has, because it delights and informs and will continue to do so. We hope that Alnwick Choral Society will continue to pay him the attention which it has already often done. FTD

Northumberland Gazette, 13th July 2006

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