Posts Tagged ‘Timothy Redmond’

Review of a performance of the Berlioz Requiem in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 5th July 2014 by Cambridge and Norwich Philharmonic choirs and Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra

July 7, 2014

Cambridge and Norwich Philharmonic choirs and Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra filled Ely Cathedral with tremendous sounds in their performance of the Berlioz Requiem last Saturday.
This huge choir and orchestra, under the baton of Timothy Redmond, performed as one, giving every grand gesture or moment of reflection real value. The vocal articulation, gradations of volume and changes of tempi were particularly well mastered. The instrumentalists, led by the well-renowned Steve Bingham, gave great depth, colour and drama to the text. Wonderful moments ranged from the fantastic entrance of the brass ensembles that surrounded the audience in the ‘Dies Irae’ to moments that featured sinister murmurings from rumbling timpani, the warm of the strings or the ominous depths of the lowest bass instruments.
One of the highlights was undoubtedly the’ Sanctus’ in which the tenor, Bonaventura Bottone, filled the Cathedral with his strong rich expressive tones, supported by moments of exquisite choral expression and control, especially in the fugue.
The first movement, the ‘Requiem and Kyrie’, opened the performance beautifully, choir and orchestra engaging the emotional richness of Berlioz’s palette immediately. The third movement provided a moving contrast to the powerful ‘Dies Irae’ while the fourth movement, ‘Rex tremendae’, used this magnificent Cathedral to full effect, the variations in timbre, texture and time fully explored. The unaccompanied voices in ‘Quaerens me’ provided a calm respite, and the ‘Lacrymosa’ contained unsettling episodes of restlessness as planned, while the ‘Offertorium’ demonstrated the real skill of these musicians, for even though a key phrase was continually repeated, it was performed with such variety of expression and texture that the momentum of this haunting movement was constantly maintained. The extremes of range in the instruments provided contrast to the rich men’s voices in ‘Hostias’ and the whole work came to a fitting resolution with a sense of overall peace in the final ‘Agnus Dei’.
I was not surprised to learn from well-known music critic, James Day, that he had heard this work performed live four times and that this performance was the best. This was indeed a magnificent concert.
Cambridge Philharmonic next performance will be of Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ at St. John’s College Cambridge on Saturday 18th October 2014.

Review Cambridge Philharmonic Society Ely Cathedral Saturday 10th July 2010

July 11, 2010

 This review is for “Local Secrets” who are willing to allow you to post it on your website, provided you provide a link to “Local Secrets” –

 (Local Secrets is an online guide to eating out, going out and shopping based in Cambridge. It covers Cambridgeshire and Bury St Edmunds. My reviews will go on their website and in their Monday magazine email which they email to 25k readers each week.)

Cambridgeshire is very rightly known as a centre of some of the most talented musicians worldwide. Steve Bingham, leader of Cambridge Philharmonic, is undoubtedly one of these and I last saw him performing with Jeremy Harmer at a conference of IATEFL (the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) in Harrogate early this year. I was very pleased to see that both of them were engaged to perform in this concert: Jeremy as a viola player. Their presence indicated that the evening was going to be a success.

And indeed it was. Under the baton of Timothy Redmond, the orchestra and choir were magnificent.   In the Overture I Vespri Siciliani by Giuseppe Verdi, Timothy’s charismatic and intuitive control brought the work to life, every change of mood and thrilling development seamlessly aroused.   

In the ever-popular Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Vaughan William the strings immediately created an intense, awe-inspiring atmosphere. They gelled superbly with impressive tonal strength and agility. The three groups of instrumentalists evoked a mesmerizing internal tension as they revelled in the rich harmonies, potent elongated phrases and creative modulations.

Verdi’s operatic style was given good measure in his Stabat Mater and Te Deum and his emotional response to the texts was fully explored. Choir and orchestra highlighted significant words while moving as one between contrasting moments that ranged from dramatic climax or angelic reflection to reverend calm.  

The concert ended with more from the unique style of Ralph Vaughan Williams in his Dona Nobis Pacem. His portrayal of the worst that war brings was well reflected by these highly accomplished performers and the renowned soprano, Joan Rodgers, with her bell-like and beautiful tones, provided a central focus of the work with her moving call to ‘grant us peace’.

Baritone, Roderick Williams, added a sense of alarm and potency to John Bright’s words of the Angel of Death while Roderick’s full strong voice gave conviction to the exhortation to ‘fear not’ and ‘be strong’.

One of the most effective episodes in this work was the sinister, repetitive drum call in the Dirge for Two Veterans (words by Walt Whitman). With effective exploration of a variety of textures by chorus and orchestra, this was one of the most spine-chilling moments of this wonderful evening.