Glories of Venice

Saturday June 18th 2011 at 7.30 pm

Parish Church of  St John, Wellington TA21 8RF

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) – Gloria RV 589, Dixit Dominus RV 807 (excerpts)
Johann Adolphe Hasse (1699-1783) – Miserere
Antonio Lotti (1667-1740) – Crucifixus a 6
Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) – Nisi dominus

Period Instrument ensemble led by Julia Black

REVIEW - Submitted by Sue Goodman


Collegium Singers’ recent concert at Wellington entitled ‘Glories of Venice’ was just that – glorious!  Musical Director Peter Leech continues to produce a fantastic sound from his singers, with excellent balance, sprightly movement, bright continental vowel sounds and a near-perfect vocal blend.  For this performance they were accompanied and supported by a brilliant group of period instrumentalists led by Julia Black.

Venetian music means one composer above all others – Vivaldi – and we heard his well-known ‘Gloria’, and the newly recovered ‘Dixit Dominus’.  Both were a revelation.  The ‘Gloria’ was taken much faster than is usually heard, but the tempo was perfect.  Singers and instrumentalists performed with aplomb, as if no other speed could be imagined.  The ‘Dixit Dominus’, discovered only a few years ago, uses numerous dramatic devices, a legacy surely of Vivaldi’s involvement with opera.  This was frowned upon by contemporary Church authorities, but gives the work a depth and majesty that we appreciate today.  I hope we can hear it again soon!

Contrast in the programme came from pieces by Lotti, Zelenka and Hasse, who all worked in Dresden.  The Hasse ‘Miserere’ for women’s voices was particularly telling, in a Germanic, even Handelian, style.  Here, and indeed throughout the concert, the use of several solo voices from the body of the choir was impressive and reflects the very high standard of this group.

Sue Goodman

19 June 2011