What a wonderfully piquant contrast this concert gave us – the Brahms German Requiem followed by Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo. Yet in both, after passages of melancholy reflection, of turbulence and stress, at the end all is well and we can rest in peace.

The Requiem is a demanding sing. It is a work of differing colours and emotions, but it has a unity which binds the seven movements together in a way unique to Brahms. It also brings together soloists and choir in a musical framework which provides an opportunity for changing textures.

Conductor Nigel Perrin got it just right. With an innate understanding of the music which allowed the choir flexibility while remaining responsive to the ebb and flow and the changing moods of the text.

After a beautifully balanced introduction, they moved confidently into All Flesh is Grass, the dynamic contrast powerful and subdued. I particularly enjoyed How lovely are Thy Tabernacles, the best known of the choruses and the final Blessed are the Dead, which ends the Requiem with a confident C major fugue.

It was an immensely satisfying performance, the tempi finely judged and the tonal balance and dynamic carefully distinguished.

Simon Trist’s warm baritone provided exactly the right foil for the Choir and Leah Jackson, after a slightly tentative start, blossomed into a lyrical flowing soprano sound with a lovely quality in the high register. It was a splendidly integrated and fulfilling reading of this great piece, with Marcus Sealy and Nick Thorne providing an immaculate piano duet accompaniment.

Captain Noah was a joy. Horovitz’s music and Flanders’ words are brilliantly combined and the Junior Choir, conducted by Adrienne Hale, took it to their hearts – and ours – discreetly and very capably supported by their seniors, clad in wellies and carrying umbrellas.

We had solos from Joseph Colman-Deveney, Megan Buxton, Sophie McDermott, Gemma Roper, Elvin Luff and Alice Perkins. Simon Trist was God. And did it ever rain. But then God promised that there would be no more rain, just all the colours of the rainbow. So everyone could leave the Ark and go out into the evening sunshine for their picnics after a great evening’s music making.

Peter Lloyd Williams
Bath Chronicle 24 June 2010