Composer, George Frideric Handel
Conducted by Anthony Hunt
Chloe Lankshear, Soprano
Tobias Cole, Countertenor
Andrew Goodwin, Tenor
Adrian Tamburini, Bass
CSO Messiah Choir
Canberra Symphony Orchestra
Llewelyn Hall to 9 July
Reviewed by Len Power 8 July 2022
Handel composed his Messiah in just 24 days. It’s extraordinary that, in such a short period of time, Handel created a work of such invention, inspiration and timelessness that it has endured for three centuries. It is said to be the most performed piece of classical music worldwide. Everyone knows the Hallelujah chorus, whether they like classical music or not.
At Llewellyn Hall on the first night of two performances, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the CSO Messiah Choir and four solo singers gave the almost capacity audience a musical experience to remember for a long time.
From the overture onwards, the orchestra under the expert conducting of Anthony Hunt, played the music with accuracy and great feeling, drawing you immediately into the spiritual and emotional depths of this work.
The CSO Messiah Choir, under the direction of Tobias Cole, sang the huge amount of choral music with confidence and skill. Highlights of their work included ‘And The Glory of God’ with particularly fine singing by the sopranos, ‘For Unto Us A Child Is Born’, ‘Since By Man Came Death’ and ‘Amen’. Their singing of the famous ‘Hallelujah’ showcased the strengths of every part of the choir and the power and enthusiasm from those voices was awe-inspiring.
The superbly resonant and controlled voice of bass, Adrian Tamburini, was electrifying in his first item, ‘Thus Saith the Lord’ and he sang ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’, accompanied by the sublime trumpet playing of Zach Raffan, with a heart-felt depth of feeling.
Soprano, Chloe Lankshear, gave beautiful, clear performances of ‘Rejoice Greatly’ and ‘I Know That My Redeemer Liveth’. Her quietly moving singing of ‘If God Be For Us’, with the expert solo violin playing of concert master, Doreen Cumming, was another highlight of the evening.
There was also fine singing by tenor, Andrew Goodwin, especially his first piece, ‘Ev’ry Valley’. He also gave excellent performances of ‘But Thou Didst Not Leave’ and ‘Thou Shalt Break Them’.
Tobias Cole, countertenor, was in fine voice with ‘O Thou That Tellest’ and ‘He Shall Feed his Flock’. He was especially impressive with his tender singing of ‘He Was Despised’.
The performers received a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the concert.
Handel’s Messiah is a gloriously uplifting work that speaks to the human spirit. His music, speaking of the resurrection and ascension of Christ and the victory over death creates an overwhelming sense of optimism. It was just what we needed at this time as we hope for the end of the current pandemic.
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.