Verdi: Requiem. New Westminster Chorus and Massed choirs, conducted by Colin Mawby.
VERDI wrote his Requiem as an operatic, rather than a liturgical piece. It as perhaps more fitting, therefore. that last Sunday's performance in memory of Cardinal Heenan should have taken place in the Royal Albert Hall rather than Westminster Cathedral. But still, it is a reminder of an earlier liturgical age, with a vision of God as vengeful judge rather than allmerciful Saviour.
The quality was marred a little by the ERMA Orchestra's somewhat weak strings and by tenor David Maxwell-Harrison. who was clearly not at his best.
But there were excellent performances by Michael Rippon (bass), Julie Kennard (soprano), and Sarah Walker (contralto). And the choir was on top form, giving the Dies lrae all the fullhloodedness it required.
The Dies frac was much enhanced by the addition of brass in the gallery at the Tuba Miran?, which added depth to the dramatic impact.
Cardinal Heenan was the first president of the New Westminster Chorus, and this performance marked the fifth anniversary of his death. Colin Mawby. was Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral from 1961 until Cardinal Heenan's death in 1975.