On Saturday 17th November, Rochester Choral Society joined forces with Sutton Valence Choral Society and Thanet Festival Choir to perform this epic work under the baton of Peter Bassano.
This colossal piece features soprano, tenor and baritone soloists, a choir of Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses, a full orchestra, a separate chamber orchestra, organ and a Distant Choir of Trebles. Fiorella Barbaro (U6StM), Carolina Ferreira (L6W), Caitlin Spooner-Lillingston (U5P) and Laura West (L6P) joined with four adult sopranos to sing the part of the Distant Choir, conducted by Mr. Mountford and accompanied by Mr. Norrey. Apart from getting to grips with the challenging harmony and dissonances in the music, the distant choir had to adjust quickly to being a long way from the rest of the performers, as they were placed in the choir stalls with the orchestra and choral societies in the nave in their normal concert positions.
The baritone and tenor soloists accompanied by chamber orchestra use Willfred Owen's poems to tell of the horrors of war, whilst the soprano soloist, chorus and large orchestra are used for the Latin sections of the requiem text. The distant choir, originally intended to be sung by a children's chorus, are used to represent innocence and hope. All of the forces are combined in the concluding movement. Congratulations to the four girls for their confidence in performing such a difficult work with very little rehearsal and to a combined audience of over 150 other musicians and a full cathedral nave.