Fauré’s Requiem, composed in the late 1880s, is a short piece lasting 35 minutes, performed in Latin, and created for orchestra, organ, male and female chorus and two soloists, soprano and baritone. Tonight’s concert is one of the mainstays of the Fringe and has been captivating audiences for years - this year followed by Cantique de Jean Racine, one of Fauré’s earlier works.
Impressively, the many singers and instruments (including a harp and the church's own organ) all came through clearly, with nothing swamping anything else.
Having been leading his St Andrew Camerata through performances of Fauré's Requiem - intermittently - since 2006, it comes as no great surprise to see how confidently Vincent Wallace helms this performance. It is also good to see that time and repetition has not diminished his enthusiasm for the piece, nor for performing it: he leads con brio, expressing the music's ebbs and flows in his facial expressions and very mobile body language. This in turn galvanises the many singers and the small ensemble of nine musicians, all of whom served to make this a delightful evening.
The church's acoustics also help this, gelling the voices and instruments so that they sound appropriately divine. Special mention should go to the soprano, whose rendition of the aria Pie Jesu was goose-pimply good. The church's interior is charming, set off - on this night - by a host of candles, of varying sizes, all flickering gently along to the music. While the "stage" lights somewhat diminished this effect, it was certainly an evocative (and non-gimmicky) addition to the music's own charms.
Impressively, the many singers and instruments (including a harp and the church's own organ) all came through clearly, with nothing swamping anything else. I'd guess this to be - again - a consideration of Wallace's; if so, kudos to him for managing to ensure such a harmonious and dynamically satisfying performance and, of course, to the singers and musicians, for aiding in this endeavour.
It's a pleasure to hear instruments and voices totally acoustically, especially in such acoustically satisfying surroundings. Add to this the choice of music and the "by candlelight" staging and you can easily see why this has been such a consistently successful concert, both in terms of content and size of audience.