One cannot deny the beauty of Mozart's final work; his Requiem Mass. Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of hearing a stunning rendition by the Scholars Pro Musica (now Scholars Baroque Aotearoa) and Opus Orchestra. The flawless first notes of the woodwinds followed by the piercing purity of soprano Jayne Tankersley's voice were signs of good things to come. And the Scholars Pro Musica did not disappoint.
The choir, in its fifth year, has become what many choirs aspire to - a cohesive, balanced blend of beautiful sound. Even with occasional tuning and timing issues, the small choir created a wall of sound, particularly in the Dies Irae. But more impressive were its moments of contrast. Poppy highlighted the varying dynamics with his sensitive interpretation - from the balance of the fugues to the echoed brilliance of the Confutatis. The standout movement was the Domine Jesu, which revealed both the power and the sensibility of the piece and the inclusion of the rarely performed Amen was simply a treat. The soloists were impressive, particularly when in quartet. The flawlessness of Tankersley, the resonance of alto Kate Spence, and the bright timbre of tenor Cameron Barclay were all anchored by the powerful depth of bass Jonathan Eyers. As for the players, I have yet to hear the Opus Orchestra and not be impressed.
This choir is a testament to the talent and vision of its director. Poppy has managed to bring the sound of Vienna to Tauranga and Tauranga is all the better for it.