REVIEW: Petite Messe Solenelle – Rossini, Chichester Singers, Chichester Cathedral

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Chichester Singers’ superb interpretation of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle presented the choir at its finest.

Originally written in 1864 by Rossini as chamber music for 8 members a vocal ensemble, the Chichester Singers touch produced a mighty example of the finest choral singing in the same league as Mozart’s masses.

The colourful and dramatic choir’s performance was enhanced by the exemplenary four soloists whose beautiful contributions enhanced the overall effect.

All four were confident and professional blending in total and exquisite harmony when singing together. Still students at the Royal Academy of music, soprano Rhiannon Llewellyn and contralto Anngharad Lyddon sang with great experience and maturity belying their age.

Their duet Qui tollis was exceptional for its beauty and purity easily achieving the requisite solemnity and emotion.

The deep and resounding singing of Adam Marsden was ideal for the bass contributions particularly Quoniam. Oliver Johnston (tenor) singing was passionate and powerful making his solo Dominus Deo one of the highlights of the concert.

Richard Pearce (piano) as the principle accompanist had a very demanding role and with great style captured the spirit of Petite Mess Solenelle his bright and rhythmic playing. Richard Barnes (organ) ensured that the accompaniment was perfect.

As with every Chichester singers Cathedral concert, Jonathan Willcocks produced the very best from the choir and soloists.

Graham Hewitt