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Choral Majesty: Royal Performance at the Cadogan Hall

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From Left to Right:  Hilary Davan Wetton (conductor), Chloë Hanslip (violinist) © RPO

The room was filled with a certain sense of intimacy and ease. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is no stranger to Cadogan Hall’s iconic stage. As the resident orchestra, RPO has the stature and confidence that comes with the territory.

The Choral Majesty was performed with a sense of pride appropriate for its grandeur. The central piece, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, is one of the finest pieces of the composer’s prolific time in Salzburg.

This missa brevis was composed in 1779 when Mozart was a court organist and composer for the Salzburg Cathedral. The first documented performance, however, was at the coronation of Francis II in 1792. Since then the Coronation Mass has been associated with royal ceremonies and inevitably has been infused with the quality of the occasion.

As RPO was at its London home the audience had a chance to enjoy a Royal evening stripped away from the formality and stiffness often inherent in mass settings.

Hilary Davan Wetton’s (conductor) charismatic presence lit up the stage and he maintained his forceful artistry throughout the evening. Under his spell RPO’s presence was vibrant and victorious as choristers, orchestra, and Maestro Wetton performed the music perceptively, directly reflecting the pulse of the masterpieces performed.

Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) was the opening act and incited the audience to embark on a magical and unexpected journey. One of the most famous and also one of his last operas the Magic Flute continues to be performed worldwide. The Overture was a beautiful combination of the sentiment and spirit of the musical journey that followed.

Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in E Minor with its lyrical flow electrified the room as the passionate Chloë Hanslip delivered a heartfelt performance. The wounded sounds of E minor spread like waves across the room.

The presence of the City of London Choir was another delight of the evening with the unaccompanied settings of Psalm 43 and Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich. Under their artistic director Hilary Davan Wetton they delivered a well-measured intensity of tone in Psalm 43. It was an extraordinary performance delivered with generosity and emotional depth.

Cadogan Hall was unpretentious and giving. Its long history filled the space with nuances from a different era – something old, something new yet familiar. The Royal Majesty was a night of appreciation and enjoyment. The audience shielded the performance with a generous round of applause.


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