Event: Verdi Requiem - The City of Glasgow Chorus with Bartosz Zurakowski and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, City Hall, Glasgow
The Verdi Requiem, performed by the City of Glasgow Chorus (CGC) in Glasgow City Hall on Sunday night was a very special occasion for me. Apart from the obvious fact that the concert marked the completion of our 30th Anniversary season, it also marked my own 30 year involvement with the choir, which began with two performances of Mahler 2 in a freezing Glasgow Cathedral in March 1984.
As one of five couples who first met through the chorus, Sunday's performance also marked the end of a 21 year choral separation for us (apart from trips to Prague with CGC and Hong Kong with RSNOC), as we brought up our children, with me rehearsing with CGC on Tuesdays and my wife singing with the RSNO Chorus on Wednesdays.
Going into the afternoon orchestral rehearsal, despite knowing the work well, we were somewhat apprehensive, being amongst the 20% of Sunday's chorus who did not go to Poland last October, and therefore had not previously worked with our Polish guest conductor, Bartosz Zurakowski.
All anxiety was quickly dispelled after only a few bars, when it became abundantly clear that this was a man who lived and breathed music, with a very clear beat, but who, rather in the mould of Neeme Jarvi, needed constant watching.
It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the quality of the choral singing, other than to say that I think we gave probably our best-ever performance, but our soloists, Anush Hovhannisyan, Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, Ronan Busfield and Paul Keohone, both individually and collectively, whether in duo, trio or quartet, performed with great sensitivity, blending superbly, and maintaining perfect pitch in the unaccompanied sections. The Orchestra of Scottish Opera also responded magnificently to the Maestro, and as we reached the closing section of the work, the intensity of the emotion of this wonderful music left me struggling to hold back the tears. Well done to Graham Taylor for leading us all through an amazing range of music throughout the choir's 30-year existence and I hope it's not too long till our next concert with Maestro Zurakowski!