Concert Reviews

 Three Spires Singers

Mozart & Haydn Concert Review, 2nd July 2022


Saturday 2nd July 2022 saw the Three Spires Choir and Orchestra back in Truro Cathedral under the trusty baton of Christopher Gray for another exhilarating concert of classical music, an all Haydn and Mozart programme to counterbalance the recent spate of contemporary and 20th century performances, and one guaranteed to leave everyone with uplifted hearts.

The character of the evening was set from the outset by Haydn’s exuberant Te Deum. The choir devoured the work in an unbroken outburst of joyous singing: over forty lines of text delivered in just eight minutes!

The first half concluded with the Piano Concerto no 23 in A by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederick Brown joining the orchestra to take the solo part while the choir was given a well-earned rest. The pianist played with poise and delicacy, never allowing his lines to become over dominant, in keeping with the temperament of the music and lighter tone that would have come from the pianos of Mozart’s own time. The second (slow) movement demonstrated this empathic relationship between orchestra and soloist to full effect; a beautifully crafted piece, magically performed, yet with the pianist at times barely outlining more than the underlining chords.

The second half of the concert was devoted entirely to Mozart’s altogether weightier Mass in C Minor. Joining the choir and orchestra were sopranos Kirsty Hopkins and Rhiannon Llewellyn, tenor Mark Hounsell and bass Harry Hoyland.

The choir handled the work with the same enthusiasm they had given the Te Deum, and apart from a few minor intonation and coordination issues during the Qui Tollis, did themselves and the work proud. Sopranos were both on top form, handling the composer’s novel writing with ease. In choosing two sopranos rather than the more conventional soprano and alto, Mozart was able to weave the two voice parts in and out of each other and throw phrases back and forth between them. Though the two soloists had very different vocal characteristics and entirely contrasting approaches to vibrato and phrasing, their voices nonetheless complemented each other to powerful effect. The tenor seemed somewhat less comfortable, his voice at times sounding strained and croaky, and one suspects he may have been a little under the weather. In a strange and slightly unfortunate quirk of the programming, bassist Harry Hoyland’s only appearance of the entire evening was in the penultimate ‘Benedictus’ section of the mass. He’d had a long wait but did not disappoint with his contribution to this intricate quartet writing. The Credo and Sanctus that preceded this section offered a wealth of new colours – sopranos in dialogue with delicate oboe and bassoon cadenzas, choir uplifted by stirring brass fanfares. But the last word of the piece, and indeed of the evening, went to the choir, with their final rousing Osanna in excelsis – ‘Hosanna in the highest’. Amen to that.

Anyone who has yet to hear the Three Spires Singers and Orchestra should make a note in their diaries of the next concert: Saturday November 19th, the programme comprising three great classics of the early 20th century: Elgar’s Sea Pictures, Sibelius’s Finlandia and Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony. This is most definitely not a concert to be missed.


Chris Best 18/07/22

Chris Best is a Cornwall based composer and writer. More info can be found at







 Click on the links for a selection of  reviews from earlier concerts.

Graham Fitkin, Humphry Davy The Age of Aspiration ( Ist performance) Poulenc Gloria, Ravel Piano Concerto
Elgar, The Kingdom concert
Kingdom review Nov 2019.docx

Bach, Handel, Buxtehude, July 2019

Bach Handel and Buxtehude.docx 

 Prokovief, Rutter and Vaughan Williams Concert

 Prokovief Rutter Vaughan Williams.docx

Review of WWI Centenary Concert

WWI Centenary Concert review.pdf

 Bach: Mass in B Minor concert

2018 March Bach B Minor Mass.pdf

Dvorak and Schumann, November 2017

Stabat Mater Nov 2017 review.pdf

Mendelsohn Elijah, April 2017- a joint concert with Truro Choral Society

Philip Buttall TSS TCS Elijah

Handel Messiah, December 2106 - we were joined on this occasion by choristers from Truro School Chamber Choir

Rachel Beaumont: Messiah

Brahms German Requiem, July 2016

 Philip Buttall: Brahms Requiem

Finzi, Tchaikovsky, Elgar and Mendelssohn, November 2016

Philip Buttall: Finzi and others

Elgar The Kingdom,with Truro Choral Society, April 2014 

Judith Whitehouse: Elgar The Kingdom

Russell Pascoe, Secular Requiem; Strauss, Four Last Songs March 2013 

Judith Whitehouse: Russell Pascoe Secular Requiem



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