Quarr Abbey, May 2016


Choir’s gems send shivers down the spine

Isle of Wight County Press
14th May 2016

ON SATURDAY, on a very sunny afternoon, I chose the cool calm of Quarr Abbey, as did many others, to hear Orpheus Singers perform a selection of sacred musical gems to support the renovation of the walled garden.

Invited by the Friends of Quarr Abbey, the singers, conducted by Philip Fryer, gave us a feast of well-known pieces, such as Panis Angelicus (Franck) and Ave Verum (Mozart), with a joy and depth of musical colour for which Orpheus Singers are known.

Their evenness of tone is a continuing pleasure, achieved by their listening to each other. The concert included works by Brahms, Monteverdi, Lotti, Faur√© and, the highlight for me, Rachmaninov’s Ave Maria from the Vespers, in which Philip Fryer inspired the singers to a powerful climax, which sent shivers down the spine.

After a short interval, we heard Haydn’s short mass, in which Kelly Wavell sang the Benedictus with purity and warmth, sympathetically supported by Lawrence Bate on the organ.

As ever, Orpheus Singers provided an exquisite sound in a wonderful sacred setting, well worth forfeiting the sun.