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A Mozart piano concerto, a rarely performed Haydn Mass and Mozart’s Requiem drew a capacity audience for a concert that will go down as one of the season’s finest.

Haydn’s Miss Brevis in B Flat, generally known as the Little Organ Mass, opened the concert. Leeds Philharmonic Chorus’s soft and poignantly sung Dona Nobis Pacem (Rest in Peace) seemed in perfect accord with the mood of Remembrance that has permeated the week. Mozart’s stupendous setting of the Requiem Mass composed in the final weeks of his life and incomplete at the time of his death occupied the second half.

Full choir and orchestra, as distinct from the reduced forces for the Haydn, were now on stage together with Leeds City Organist Simon Lindley. This performance amply demonstrated that David Hill’s declared intention to ‘take the Phil up a league’ is much more than an empty promise.

All of the by now familiar hallmarks of this conductor were evident: rhythmic vitality, absolute clarity of orchestral and choral textures, excellent diction and perfect balance. There was an immediacy and directness about the singing which was breathtaking and the dynamic range from the softness of the Lacrymosa to the force and power of the closing Communio was astonishing. Soprano Sarah Fox, mezzo Sarah Fryer, tenor Timothy Robinson and bass Roderick Williams made up the excellent solo quartet in this great performance, a performance clearly from the heart.

Wharfedale & Airedale Observer
Published 14th November 2009

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