Missa solemnis, Op.123
Genia Kühmeier (soprano), Gerhild Romberger (mezzo-soprano), Michael Schade (tenor) & Georg Zeppenfeld (bass)
Edinburgh Festival Chorus
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Reviewed by: Gregor Tassie
Reviewed: 29 August, 2015
Venue: Usher Hall, Edinburgh
This year marks the fiftieth birthday of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. It has consistently produced high-quality singing, beginning with Mahler’s Eighth Symphony conducted by Alexander Gibson that opened a new aspect in the Edinburgh Festival’s standards, and continued with conductors such as Abbado, Giulini, Bernstein and Haitink, the Chorus has achieved world-class status. Much of its success was achieved through the leadership of the much-missed Arthur Oldham, and continues with Christopher Bell.
Robin Ticciati began the Missa solemnis cautiously but went on to create glorious choral splendour, showcasing the singers’ superb dynamic range and sonority, although there were inaccuracies in the balance, the singers overwhelming the augmented Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Michael Schade was resplendent, his affinity with the texts to the fore. Georg Zeppenfeld’s bass was suitably dark and stentorian, Genia Kühmeier’s soprano milky, whilst Gerhild Romberger was velvety and, when it could be heard, the SCO produced some marvellous moments, its leader Gregory Ahss playing beautifully in the ‘Benedictus’.
At the close, a very loud, potentially ruinous “bravo” from the someone in the Stalls caused mirth among the performers; fortunately Ticciati allowed the music to die-away before cueing and acknowledging the stormy applause.