A musical anniversary celebration

Trianon Music Group, Corn Exchange, Ipswich, Saturday, April 18

Trianon Music Group, Corn Exchange, Ipswich, Saturday, April 18

The second concert of Trianon Music Group's fiftieth season featured music by three composers with significant anniversaries themselves this year - George Frederick Handel (died 1759), Franz Joseph Haydn (died 1809) and Felix Mendelssohn (born 1809) - alongside two rather more contemporary works.

Haydn's second setting of the Te Deum made a suitably grand and festive curtain-raiser, although from where I was sitting the choir was sometimes overwhelmed by the orchestra. An atmospheric rendition of Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture followed.

James Agee's haunting poem Sure on This Shining Night is probably best known from Samuel Barber's 1934 setting of it for solo voice and piano. Morton Lauridsen's choral treatment of the same words, composed as recently as 2005, is a trifle bland by comparison but received a sensitive performance from the Trianon Choir and accompanist Judith Inge.

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The first half of the programme concluded with Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, during which conductor Christopher Green - TMG's co-founder and indefatigable artistic director for the past half-century - drew some particularly fine playing from the woodwind section of the Trianon Symphony Orchestra.

The second half consisted of a single work, Psalmfest, by the group's honorary president John Rutter. Psalmfest is actually a compilation of nine separate psalm settings written over a period of twenty years, and the composer's suggestion that one or more of these may be omitted in performance should perhaps have been followed, given the work's considerable length and slight sameness of style.

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But under Green's inspired direction the choir, orchestra and soloists (soprano Wendy Fee and tenor Paul Bloomfield, the latter standing in at very short notice for the indisposed Richard Reaville) combined to give a colourful and generally secure performance, which like the rest of this enjoyable concert was warmly applauded by the capacity audience.

Alan Loader

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