Our Lady's Choral Society/National Sinfonia/Proinnsias O Duinn

 

{TABLE} Messiah ..................... Handel {/TABLE} LONG after the first flush of fairy lights and the premature hosts of Santa Clauses, the annual performances of Handel's Messiah sound the authentic, the religious note of the Christmas festival. There was a time, in living memory, when performances used to succumb under the weight of their good intentions, but happily that is no longer the case.

Last Wednesday's performance in the NCH under Proinnsias O Duinn was as lean and clean as could have been hoped and the many sections of choruses and arias and recitative followed swiftly on each other, carefully building up to the climax of the Hallelujah chorus but not slackening in verve or impetus in the final coda like numbers.

The first tenor aria, Comfort Ye My People, admirably and clearly sung by Emmanuel Lawlor, set a standard for the other soloists, to which they rose with equal virtuosity, singing their heavily ornamented parts with musical accuracy and a clear feeling for the meaning of the text.

Bridget Knowles's gentle contralto was most moving in He Was Despised and Rejected Of Men Ian Caddy brought an impressively fiery attack to the bass aria The Trumpet Shall Sound and Cara O'Sullivan supplied the requisite feeling of exaltation to the soprano aria I Know That My Redeemer Liveth.

Our Lady's Choral Society and the National Sinfonia followed the conductor's directions in the most responsive way and helped him to give the whole work a most satisfactory forward impulse without in any way detracting from the beauty of the individual items.