Monteverdi Vespers - City Temple, The Esterhazy Singers, London Youth Choir & Little Baroque Co

I played Cornetto with The Little Baroque Company, performing Monteverdi's Vespers in London's 'City Temple' (Holborn Viaduct) on Monday 25th April 2016. Esther Jones conducted the orchestra and the combined choirs of The Esterhazy Singers and London Youth Choirs. Esther even conducted to another conductor (Greg Hallam) who relayed the tempo to the members of the youth choirs, who were facing away from the main conductor, on the balcony upstairs. It worked surprisingly well and the 'surround sound' effect was fantastic. In total, there were around 200 singers involved.

They managed to find a good balance between inclusion and intimacy, selecting sections in which to utilise the entire forces of the combined choirs and they chose other places in which to offer smaller-scale moments, either from soloists or from the smaller, centre-stage choir - The Esterhazy Singers.

Having several choirs involved gave the young singers the opportunity and confidence to sing a piece of this calibre with professional and experienced musicians, and I suppose it is also beneficial for the The Esterhazy Singers, as the youth choirs probably help to boost the audience in attendance. They managed to attract a large audience - not an easy feat for a Monday evening. This partnership seems like a very good idea and I think what they are doing is very encouraging for promoting this kind of music to young people. Congratulations to all - especially to the young singers in the youth choirs and special thanks must go to their teachers, who had prepared them so fantastically.

Throughout the performance there were particularly memorable moments from tenor soloists Hugo Hymas and later Ronnie Jacobs - they sang with calm assurance and were both musically stylish and vocally impressive.

The orchestra had a fantastic line-up, with John Crockatt leading the strings on the left of the platform, with myself leading the early brass section on the right.

John Crockatt & Karin Bjork - violins
Emma Alter & Nichola Blakey - violas
Jan Zahourek - contrabass
Russell Gilmour & Richard Thomas & Daniel Weitz - cornetts
Martyn Sanderson, Stephanie Dyer & Guy Morley - sackbutts
Richard Mackenzie - theorbo
Tom Foster - organ

We performed the Magnificat in its untransposed form and there were many special moments, including an excellent duet, Esurientes, sung by Sophie Timms and Bethan Thomas.

Russell Gilmour
Russell Gilmour Blog
writing on music, photography, engraving, travel and life as a freelance professional musician.