Gounod Messe Solonelle de Sainte Cécile at Well’s Cathedral – March 19th


The evening of March 19thsaw the culmination of many months of hard work by the singers of the Millfield Festival chorus: staff, students and members of the wider community had the opportunity to sing the sublimely written Messe Solonelle de Sainte Cécile with professional chamber orchestra and fabulous trio of professional solo singers.

Our concert in the magnificent surroundings of Wells Cathedral began with a stunningly gorgeous performance of the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64. Conductor Mr Clive Hughes brought out sweet and delicate playing from each and every member of the ensemble, and special congratulations go to U6 pupil Elenice Andrews (horn), L6 pupil Eloise Littman (clarinet) & Year 9 pupil Felix Sissins-Roffey (oboe) for their beautifully sensitive solos throughout the movement.

Continuing straight on, the choir took to the fore with orchestra and soloists Eloise Routledge (soprano), Nick Prichard (tenor) & Andrew Davies (bass) to tackle Gounod’s mass in this poignant setting. The mass began with a sparse, but simply heavenly orchestral tutti before the choir and soloists set about conveying the glorious text.

Each soloist had a chance to prove their mettle in uplifting and sorrowful moments aplenty, and each soloist provided awe-inspiring performances throughout the work. The work, surprisingly rarely performed compared to other large-scale Choral works, effortlessly combines soloists, chorus and orchestra, who each come together in sheer brilliance. A highlight of the whole chorus was definitely the Credo, during which the resplendent force of professional chamber orchestra and massed chorus, with an incredible 200 singers, echoed through Wells Cathedral.

The whole event was put on in aid of the South West Music School, which is a Centre of Advanced Training and Music Charity working closely with talented young musicians in the South West of England – providing the same standard of music education as specialist music schools and junior conservatoires. The generous donations of our audience was greatly appreciated, and we collectively managed to raise a phenomenal £1767.60 for SWMS.


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