Tuesday, August 11

BREMF – Peace in Europe – BREMF Singers & Players, John Hancorn (director)

- November 12, 2018

BREMF’s splendid finale delivered beautiful Baroque tears and solace, featuring music from Britain, France and the Holy Roman Empire. Jan Dismas Zelenka’s Bohemian ‘Miserere’, full of curious twists, made an interesting start. However, Delalande’s psalm of lamentation ‘De Profundis’ and Charpentier’s jubilant ‘Te Deum’, masterworks from the court of Louis XIV, were so much more satisfying. Their choruses are better constructed and the arias and ensembles provided enchanting showpieces for the exceptionally fine soloists, Elizabeth Adams (soprano), Nancy Cole and Helen Charlston (mezzo-sopranos), Josh Cooter (tenor) and Tim Dickinson (bass-baritone). All this was stylishly supported by the BREMF players led by Alison Bury, each one playing as virtuoso soloists, especially the continuo Claire Williams (organ) and George Ross (cello).

The highest point of this beautifully balanced concert was Purcell’s deeply tragic ‘Dido’s Lament’. Charlston’s delivery was so tender and Hancorn responded by allowing plenty of time for the drama while avoiding self-indulgence.

He completed his ambitious programme with another curiosity by that most British of German composers. ‘Anthem on the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle’ is a confection that Handel compiled with joyful thanksgivings filched from ‘Messiah’.

BREMF itself was as triumphant, not least because of the many dedicated volunteers who facilitate every event. Be prepared, BREMF 2019 is already being planned.

St Martin’s Church, 11 November 2018
Rating: ★★★★★
Andrew Connal

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