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Good Friday 6 April St.Davids Cathedral

Posted in the Concert Reports Category

At the end of a crowded day of activities marking Good Friday, the final event in St.Davids Cathedral was a performance of Stainer’s The Crucifixion. As an epilogue, excerpts were also heard from Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Bach’s St.John Passion.

All was enhanced by the absence of applause throughout and the joining of all present in the hymns in Stainer’s moving account of Christ’s last hours.  The composer had echoed the habit in Bach’s day of congregations to participate.

 The interpretation on the current occasion was a masterpiece rendering by the conductor, John S.Davies, whose Singers and organist Daniel Cook (Master of the Choristers and Organist of the Cathedral) brought the biblical text vividly alive. The soloists, tenor Trystan Llyr Griffiths and baritone Tom Hunt a former Worcester Cathedral chorister, were as one in their interpretation of the text, the former currently highlighted in his home territory is one to watch from now on.  The brilliant variations of tone throughout, always a feature of such occasions, again made one catch a breath. 

 Such works as the Stainer and others are sometimes written off as minor compositions, but somehow touch the senses in their own right, especially if performed as described here.  Alongside, the more often judged as superior, can be included as were the excerpts from Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Bach’s St.John Passion   Both of these are from the end of each work, the latter the wonderful  Lie still and the final chorale.

Yes, the Stainer spoke to the heart, the Bach to the soul.