REVIEW – Candlelit Concert in the Cathedral, St Giles’ Cathedral

31 Dec. 2010, 1930 (2100) @ St Giles’ Cathedral

Review by Danielle Farrow

Among soaring arches, trumpeting angels and décor of red, green and gold, the Candlelit Concert proved a very popular choice for the start of Hogmanay and was lead with great control by St Giles’ Camerata’s Angus Ramsay and Michael Harris, Master of the Music for The Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral, with Peter Backhouse on the cathedral’s fine organ.

The baroque first half – Bach’s ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ and ‘Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ’ – mixed stately joy with more sombre accents. Tenor Tim Ambrose particularly impressed with his German diction, as well as his clear tone, there were times when Soprano Julie Moote’s voice beautifully raised hairs on end, and it was just a pity that Judy Dennis’ alto resonance sounded but briefly.

Throughout the concert, the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral filled the space, voice and music blending wonderfully, with the Camerata supporting soloists very well, never overwhelming them. The second half brought the dramatic thrill of Mozart with his Coronation Mass. Here Jerome Knox’s bass seemed to release fully in the interweaving of the four solo voices, soloists and choir often playing with responses to the music, flowing through uplifting exaltation and harmonious benediction.

A very fine way to prepare for the later bells, the Candlelit Concert ended with an appreciative audience, some standing for the ovation, and this reviewer sang all the way home!

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