Norwich Cathedral Consort with Norwich Baroque
Soloists: Katherine Crompton, James Bowman, William Blake, Edward Grint
Director: Ashley Grote
Leader: James O'Toole
Eastern Daily Press Review:
FINE FESTIVE PERFORMANCE
The flickering light of candles in the cathedral's vast nave added a touch of magic to this fine Christmas performance of Handel's Messiah by the committed Cathedral Consort singers, Jim O'Toole's stylish Norwich Baroque instrumentalists, four admirable soloists and a rousing trumpet.
The Cathedral's Master of Music, Ashley Grote, controlled the pace of Handel's music with great skill. He kept it moving along briskly for the most part, but allowed space where it was needed.
Because of the notorious instability of early instruments, a tuning break was needed just before the Pastoral Symphony. It was an unfortunate interruption of the dramatic flow of the work at that delicate moment.
Soprano Katherine Crompton brought verve to her solos, and it was a treat to hear the veteran countertenor James Bowman. William Blake was always neat and agile, while Edward Grint had the bass tone and presence to bring authority to his prophetic utterances.
The chorus of around fifty voices was confident and flexible. It maintained coherence when moving fast in exposed passages and found reserves of power to give impact to the great conclusions of each of the three sections of England's favourite Oratorio.