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The final two pieces in the programme, Howells's Requiem and Strauss' Die Göttin im Putzzimmer were both written in the mid 1930s, each using a similar harmonic idiom but to radically different effect.

Howells' Requiem received a beautifully controlled performance. The small size of the choir told here in a number of passages performed with lovely transparency of texture, notably in the first Requiem movement. Secure tuning in Howells' rich harmonies meant that the choir gave a movingly confident performance with commendable solos taken by the choir members.

Strauss' Die Göttin im Putzzimmer is a rare work, partly because of the outrageous demands made on the choral singers. Strauss set a poem by Rückert, depicting the chaos of the lady's boudoir using a proliferation of complex textures. Reger-like in its harmonic richness, with a demandingly stratospheric first soprano part, the piece was negotiated with skill by the ensemble under Jenkins' confident leadership.

The almost capacity crowd received this challenging programme with genuine appreciation.

Copyright © 3 November 2007 Robert Hugill, London UK



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