It's never been my luck previously to review Cantamus, a compact chamber choir under the hand of Mike Daniels, a jovial musician of diverse genres.
Truly my misfortune, for in this concert of Rossini’s “poor little mass... the final sin of my old age” (the composer’s words) there was so much of which they can be mightily proud.
Daniels worked them hard: They didn’t just sing the notes; they poured their hearts into a performance that captured the operatic opulence of a work that is almost a caricature. They are well schooled and their discipline is admirable. How refreshing, these days, to see 30-odd singers able to sit and stand without shuffling, fidgeting and flapping about. That is so important.
Their tone held through a lot of singing, their attack was incisive and their counterpoint un-muddied: but, like most choirs these days, they do need more basses for those that they have sounded, accurate as they may be, at times like a thin red line.
This mass needs piano and harmonium and Stephen Cooke (harmonium) and the redoubtable, unflappable Steven Hollas, on piano, laid a perfectly balanced and sure bedrock.
The soloists, Cheryl Enever (soprano), Jeanette Ager (mezzo), Paul Badley (tenor) and Colin Campbell (bass), all added the icing on an early Christmas treat – surely a tasty aperitif for the choir’s next offering, carols, Christmas music, readings (and mulled wine) at Christ Church, Worton, on December 18.