Umberto Clerici introduced out a stately, dancing high quality to the music, paying homage to the sound-world of a Bach orchestral suite.
Handel’s Messiah – New Zealand Symphony Orchestra carried out by Umberto Clerici, with Emma Pearson (soprano), Deborah Humble (mezzo-soprano), Lila Crichton (tenor), Samson Setu (bass-baritone) and The Tudor Consort. Music by Handel. Michael Fowler Centre, December 10. Reviewed by Max Rashbrooke.
Italian conductor Umberto Clerici could have been a relative novice to Handel’s Messiah, however you wouldn’t have recognized it from Saturday night time’s conventional end-of-year efficiency. Nor, although, was his an particularly unconventional rendition. A couple of ornaments and moments of emphasis apart, this was merely a delicate and transferring interpretation that, with out going for a full ‘interval’ method, emphasised the granular over the grand scale.
Conducting a 29-strong Tudor Consort and a pared-back orchestra, from the primary notes Clerici introduced out a stately, dancing high quality to the music, paying homage to the sound-world of a Bach orchestral suite. And all through the orchestra performed fantastically, from the drowsy and mellow sound of the Pifa by way of to the juddering, beating-hooves pulse of the Certainly, He Hath Borne our Griefs.
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Besides maybe for the opening bars of Behold the Lamb of God, which may have been gentler and extra reverent, the work’s textures have been delicately sketched and the sense of musical line immaculate.
Clerici, who has comparatively lately made the transition from cellist to conductor, appeared fractionally much less at residence with the choir than with the orchestra. Actions like His Yoke Is Straightforward felt tentative, missing in punch; ditto And with His Stripes We Are Healed.
The five-strong tenor part, in the meantime, inevitably sounded a contact skinny. Conversely, actions like Since by Man Got here Dying have been marked by exquisitely refined swells and falls, glorious vocal management, and a pianissimo suggesting the quiet of the tomb.
The primary of the soloists, tenor Lila Crichton, had a horny, sweet-toned voice, although his method let him down on the longer runs and his vocal color may have been extra diversified. Mezzo-soprano Deborah Humble, in the meantime, could have had a pleasing voice someplace in there, nevertheless it was laborious to discern beneath an nearly comically giant serving to of vibrato.
Soprano Emma Pearson was considerably higher, conveying – by way of each vocal line and refined performing touches – a higher depth of reference to the music; her rendition of I Know That My Redeemer Liveth was particularly wonderful.
The shock bundle, although, was younger bass-baritone Samson Setu, standing in for an indisposed Wade Kernot. Setu’s unusually clear and open sound allowed him an unforced energy and glorious diction, whereas his vocal timbre had a chic gravitas not often heard in a single so younger. Some comprehensible hesitancies apart, he was excellent in arias similar to The Folks That Walked in Darkness – a degree of sunshine, sarcastically, in what was already a luminescent efficiency.
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