The Burgate Singers’ annual concert at Diss Corn Hall is something of a Christmas treat. Having previously performed standards like Bach’s Magnifcat and Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem felt like quite a gear change.
That said, it is not at all maudlin, focusing on peaceful acceptance of the inevitable, and this performance allowed the composer’s emphasis on the serene to emerge. While Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas betrayed an understandable need for the choir to settle in, Honregger’s Cantata de Noel showed what the singers can achieve once they get going.
It was lovely touch to have Alistair Bamford singing with his son, and Margaret Marchetti’s powerful soprano voice was astonishing, but the real stars were the eponymous singers. Their enthusiasm and ambition could be heard in every note they sang.
At a time of year when concert halls reverberate to Prokofiev’s Troika and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, it was brave of Alain Judd to put on such a challenging programme, but all credit to him for doing so.