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Verdi’s Requiem is a favourite with both choirs and their audiences and Arun Choral Society with members of Tonbridge Philharmonic Choir maintained this reputation with their performance, in Arundel Cathedral, conducted by John Henville.

 The choirs displayed their careful training, coping efficiently with the wide variety of dynamics and vocal techniques required in this dramatic work- ranging from the blood curdling Dies irae (enhanced by the explosions from the local firework display!) to the dancing Libera me and the melodious Agnus Dei.

 The four soloists were well matched and sang with mutual sympathy in their ensemble sections and displayed their talents in their solos. The sonorous tones of Steven Gallop (bass) were especially effective in the Confutatis maledictus and the liquid operatic voice of the tenor Adam Tunnicliffe was a delight in the Qui Mariam. Emily Bauer-Jones (contralto) and Lesley- Jane Rogers (soprano) both captivated the audience- Emily for her sensitive interpretation and Lesley for her wide vocal range and expressive singing and it was a pleasure to hear their meticulous attention to the subtle details that Verdi indicated in the score.

 The Sinfonia of Arun, led by Robin Morrish, fulfilled their role efficiently (though sadly there were moments of instability in their synchronisation with the singers); however this did not upset a memorable performance.

Supplementary comments

“It was a sell out! The Cathedral holds 550. We drafted in more chairs as there were so many people queueing at the door but eventually had to turn people away as we ran out of places to put them (health and safety, you know) Such a shame for them but one person who failed to get in came to practice last night wanting to join us!

The concert went really well and received calls of 'encore' with many people on their feet. What the crit. failed to mention was that the tenor soloist, Adam Tunnicliffe replaced Mark Wilde (who was witnessing the birth of his daughter) with 24 hours notice! Lovely chap and a wonderful voice. Worth all that hard work.”

Arun Choral Society