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Monday, February 19, 2007

Elijah

On Saturday night I joined Hertfordshire Chorus to sing one of my favourite 19th century oratorios - Mendelssohn's Elijah at St Alban's abbey. Mendelssohn was a great admirer of Bach, and applied the structural and stylistic example of the Bach Passions to this Old Testament story. Unlike much of the turgid large-scale choral music of the period, Mendelssohn's work is alive with vibrancy and passion, and the sheer inventiveness of the music is sometimes simply unbelievable. The chorus was fortunate to have an excellent line-up of soloists, led by Graeme Danby in the title role, along with Nick Turner's London Orchestra da Camera. The concert was conducted by David Temple, who also directs Crouch End Festival Chorus.

I had a great time, and the chorus made me feel very welcome - I had a wonderful lunch with a dozen or so of them in Zizzi's in St Alban's between the rehearsal and the concert. The evening itself went very well, Hertfordshire Chorus rising to the occasion and the stunning venue with some truly breath-taking singing.

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