The combined forces of the Buxton Musical Society and their guests the Bakewell Choral Society performed Verdi’s inspiring Requiem Mass to a packed audience at St John’s Church, Buxton.
Both societies agreed that the performance should be dedicated to those who had lost their lives in the recent tragedies in Manchester and London and, before the performance, the Reverend Canon Stephen Shipley spoke movingly about the work and its relevance to today’s sombre mood.
The Requiem is by turns both sublime and raucous; sung in sorrow for lives lost, but with a zest for life and redemption. It starts quietly, and gets even quieter; the sombre cellos come in first, before the mood is lightened by the whispering chorus. The soft voices of both choirs and the four soloists lull you into a false sense of security.
Then the unmistakeable power of the Dies irae, as the 120+ voices of the two choirs let rip, complete with trumpets and thunderous drum beat. It really was a wonder that the heavy doors of St John’s remained on their hinges.
As ever, Michael Williams marshalled the considerable forces under his baton with great, sometimes quiet, passion.
The performance was rapturously received by the audience in a packed St John’s – and rightly so!
At the end of the 90-minute work there was a long, hushed silence before the audience started their applause for the four soloists, orchestra and massed choirs.
The work became known to a wider audience since a part of it was performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales almost 20 years ago.