The following is a review prepared for publication in The Northern Echo of the joint concert by Orchestra North East, Bishopwearmouth Choral Society and Ryton Choral Society performed at The Sage, Gateshead on Sunday 14th June 2015.
Orchestra North East treated its audience to an exquisite performance featuring two of Guiseppe Verdi’s signature works at Sage Gateshead.
Expertly directed by renowned local pianist and choral trainer, David Murray, the programme began with the overture to La Forza del Destino. With its spine-chilling opening chords from the brass section, depicting vengeance, to its virtuosic close, the orchestra played with verve and style.
Of particular note were the solo performances by flautist Margaret Borthwick, oboist Philip Cull, and clarinettist Jennifer Murray.
For the second work, Messa da Requiem, Orchestra North East joined forces with two excellent regional choirs; Bishopwearmouth Choral Society and Ryton Choral Society.
Murray displayed impeccable mastery in his direction of both choir and orchestra, his economical style finding the perfect balance of passion and control.
Memorable amongst the seven sections of the Requiem was the Dies Irae. Depicting beautifully the wrath of God, the oversized bass drum was put to good use. Trumpets positioned high above the audience – answered in clarion by their onstage counterparts – provided an ethereal moment before the huge orchestral climax.
Soloists Claire Rutter, Deborah Humble, James Edwards and Stephen Gadd expertly interpreted Verdi’s intensely melodic work with its surging passions, drama, and radical changes of mood.
Together in harmony, Orchestra North East, choirs and soloists produced a performance of truly professional standard, which received the recognition of an appreciative audience.
Founded almost 30 years ago and comprising both amateur and professional musicians from across the North East, Orchestra North East come together for three major concerts each year. Their next performance, featuring the works of Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninov, takes place in Durham Cathedral on Saturday October 10.