Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fauré's Requiem at St Mary's Cathedral

St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney
In 1865 the architect William Wardell was commissioned to  design a new cathedral in Sydney. He was asked to create: 'Any plan, any style, anything that is beautiful and grand, to the extent of our power.'

The result is St Mary's cathedral in Sydney. You have to admire the spirit that created such a building in colonial NSW.

Last Friday I went to a concert at St Mary's, billed as Fauré's Requiem. I went with a friend who brought another friend who had never been to a classical concert. 

The concert turned out to be more of a Catholic service than a concert. Most of the concert was hymns composed quite recently sung softly by the Sydney Philharmonic Choir (or was it the church acoustic that made it so muffled?) I normally find church music uplifting but I was bored and sat there on the hard seats feeling sorry for the friend for whom this was meant to be an introduction to the classical world. What a missed opportunity. (He commented afterwards that the soloists were lovely but so short!)

The cathedral was full and I think perhaps we had stumbled into a congregation who were much better informed about what they would be hearing than we were. Luckily a program with the words was provided, Latin/French and English) and I could amuse myself by testing my school-day Latin. I was surprised how much I had retained.

Pie Jesu from Fauré's Requiem sung by Dominic Harvey, Winchester Cathedral Choir

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