EC4 Music at Barbican Hall – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Vier letzte Lieder, Ein deutsches Requiem

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Prelude to Act I
Vier letzte Lieder
Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45

Claire Seaton (soprano) & Samuel Evans (baritone)

EC4 Chorus & Orchestra
Tim Crosley

Reviewed by: Paul Czajkowski

Reviewed: 1 May, 2013
Venue: Barbican Hall, London

One may not necessarily associate The Square Mile, which makes up the City of London, with music; sponsoring it, yes, but not performing it. But many will be relieved to know that it does indeed possess a musical heart. It was very much alive and beating at this concert. The EC4 Orchestra, founded in 1995, comprises amateur musicians who work in an office-based environment, and perform to raise money for The Prince’s Trust.

The programme began with a rather earthbound performance of the Prelude to Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, in which intonation was troublesome for much of the time. However, when the musicians moved to Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs, they did so in top gear. Perhaps they were inspired by Claire Seaton who sang with tremendous warmth and understanding and, unlike so many sopranos today, there was no hint of an intrusive wobble.

The concert’s second half was devoted to Brahms’s A German Requiem, a work which, quite frankly, can sound turgid. Not here. This was exhilarating music-making, the choir singing with the fervour and enthusiasm of the newly-converted, and any imperfections of ensemble were quickly forgotten in the wake of such an open-hearted, lusty contribution. Again, Claire Seaton was superb and she was joined by the excellent Samuel Evans.

Throughout the evening, and particularly in the Strauss and Brahms, conductor Tim Crosley must take much of the credit for inspiring such fine performances from his city musicians.

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