Mozart’s Divertimento in F offered a charmingly crisp opening to an evening of rich and passionate music making. The precision of Mrs Carlson’s Chamber Orchestra, and the piece’s interesting tricks and turns, made for attentive listening – Mozart experimenting a little, I thought, and very enjoyably so. It paved the way for ‘bigger’ works with the Symphony Orchestra under Mr Penny’s baton. Beethoven’s Pastoral – the magnificent first movement – was… magnificent. How brave for a school orchestra to test itself on such grand yet familiar music: how well our musicians rose to the challenge. It was simply beautiful. Carwithen’s Suffolk Suite offered something a little more rustic, simple, almost frivolous and gambolling, but nonetheless richly entertaining: the discovery that the music had started life accompanying a film about East Anglia made perfect sense. Evita’s main themes are well known; the evocation of Argentinian hurly-burly, heat and passion in the lesser known melodies was if anything even more striking than the occasional realisations of ‘Don’t cry for me’. Terrific, sweeping music to end a wonderfully natural – pastoral – trio of pieces.
And then Faure’s Requiem: reflective; peaceful; deeply dramatic but contained and almost introspective. Owen Butcher, Rhiannon Humphreys and Charlie Green each added magnificently to the landscape of the piece with truly beautiful, innocent solos – clear, floating voices so well suited to the clean emotions of a piece unfettered by the judgmental nature of many of the other well-known Requiems; and Harrison Cole as organist added his own stunningly impressive contribution. Outstanding. Who could not be moved? Singing, I had been a-tingle throughout; the audience was the same, I have no doubt. Many congratulations Mr Penny, Mrs Carlson, the Choral Society and the Orchestras for a wonderful evening.