Saturday 5 March 2016, Church of St Alphege, Oldfield Lane, Bath, BA2 3NR
Three Stabat Mater form the core of this concert by Browne, Palestrina and Scarlatti
Monteverdi Confitebor tibi Domine III
Henry Purcell Funeral Sentences
Arvo Pärt An den Wasser zu singen
Review by Antony Corfe published in Bath Chronicle
There’s a special warmth about the Church of St Alphege, and it hosted the appreciative audience that the Paragon Singers have deservedly attracted over time. They performed early music, with a contemporary contrast to leaven it – this time by Arvo Pӓrt. The early music cognoscenti express interesting and often differing views on the merits of performance – tempi, phrasing, volume, balance, and so on, and rightly so; it’s all to do with their individual beliefs as to how that wonderful music should be presented. For me – well, I don’t necessarily analyse what I hear, but it’s the magic in the very performance by an excellent choir that grips and moves me, as it did that evening.
It was not without imperfection; Monteverdi is not easy. But the mark of a good choir is its speed of recovery and here the Paragon Singers gained full marks after a slightly hesitant start. The Pӓrt was difficult too, with the tuning of those introductory solo entries, but then characterised by a fine performance.
Purcell’s ‘Funeral Sentences’, was full of sumptuous phrasing; the concert ended wonderfully in the brilliance of Scarlatti’s ‘Stabat Mater’.