A fabulous 4* review in The Herald!
A snippet here, but you can read the whole review on the Herald website.
"She may be petite, but soprano Rowan Pierce is evidently more robust than many sopranos. As she once again stepped in to replace an ailing colleague at a Scottish concert, her agent must surely be pointing out to choirs and orchestras that they’d save themselves a great deal of anxiety by simply booking her in the first place. "
"There is a youthful look and sound to the whole tenor section of this chorus these days, more than making up for their comparative lack of numbers. Chorusmaster and conductor Michael Bawtree has his ensemble precisely drilled and there was always the feeling of power in reserve as the piece unfolded: the opening of Part Two’s And With His Stripes was, startlingly, almost sotto voce, and the closing bars of All We Like Sheep beautifully poised and paced."
Guest conductor Benjamin Bayl led the chorus and orchestra with clean, clear movements, beautifully capturing the music’s sway. The orchestra, under the leadership of Rowan Bell, was on spectacular form, easily up there with the country’s finest early music ensembles. Bell’s solo playing towards the end of part three was exquisitely ornamented with a raw, organic tone, and the offstage brass in the first part was crisp and sparkling. Underpinning much of the music with a strong yet subtle depth was John Kitchen’s mastery of the Usher Hall’s mighty organ, adding just the right amount of power.
Performing this marvelous work every year, the choir must know every inch of the music inside out, and that is certainly what came across, with perfect balance between parts, crystal-clear diction and long melismatic passages tightly controlled. The quartet of soloists were equally rigorous in their portrayal of the piece. Showing a real talent for Oratorio, mezzo-soprano Judy Brown gave a heartfelt and compelling rendition of He was despised, the opening aria in part 2. Soprano soloist Susanna Hurrell brought a beautiful array of colour to I know that my redeemer liveth although her vibrato was a touch on the heavy side. Bass-baritone Tristan Hambleton sang with a rounded warmth, though was sometimes overshadowed by the orchestra, and tenor Elgin Llŷr Thomas gave clear and animated delivery.