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<<<  <<  -- 4 --  Rex Harley    REQUIEM IN BLUE


But it wasn't simply about professional musicians doing what they do best. The children's choirs are an integral part of the piece. If they don't sing with the commitment required, suddenly the performance goes lame. But they were magnificent, standing, quietly waiting, in the sections where they were silent, and totally focused when they were singing. Their schools -- Prior Weston Primary, Betty Layward, and Hanover School -- should be proud, both of them and their respective musical directors. As for the girls of Hill Road Sixth Form College, they were equally impressive, handling solos with all the aplomb of seasoned veterans.

Harvey Brough and friends at Union Chapel. Photo © 2007 Helena Dornellas
Harvey Brough and friends at Union Chapel. Photo © 2007 Helena Dornellas

Which brings me to that spoken passage. Frankly, it's an inspired choice of text, taken from Lee Hall's Spoonface Steinberg, and it was read, beautifully, by his daughter Blaze, every word clear and strong over the full forces of choirs and musicians. It's about the way everything we do can become a form of prayer, and it ends like this:

'... and when people kissed there were sparks and when people held each other there were sparks and when they waved as they were going away there would be sparks -- and they would all be prayers.'

The standing ovation was not a surprise.

Copyright © 13 November 2007 Rex Harley, Cardiff UK


A full recording of the Requiem is planned. In the meantime, a section from the new opera Stumbling Over Infinity will be performed at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio Theatre on 23 and 24 November; and Requiem in Blue can be heard once more, with slightly different forces, at St George's Church, Chesterton, Cambridge on 21 December 2007. Harvey Brough can also be heard in concert with Clara Sanabras and The Real Lowdown, at the Roundhouse on 14 November.

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