Publications | By Year

The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge at Frankfurt Cathedral, July 2023

> See concert details...

“Even the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge’s entrance procession promised much, and expectations were not disappointed. In just under an hour and a half the 40 singers, all students at the University of Cambridge, delivered a demanding programme, crowned and concluded with Maurice Duruflé’s ‘Requiem’. The audience’s extended and enthusiastic applause was rewarded with ‘Salutation’ by the Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds.

The Choir’s origins go back to a purely male-voice ensemble in the 14th century; women were first admitted in the 1980s. Today the Choir achieves a vocal homogeneity capable of meeting the highest musical demands, as was evident from the opening pieces by William Byrd, an important composer of the Elizabethan era, and by Charles Villiers Stanford, a former director of the Choir.

The Choir’s abilities, proven in numerous concerts and recordings, are unquestionably to the credit of its conductor Stephen Layton, who is considered one of the outstanding directors of his generation. Layton’s initially matter-of-fact and reserved style became progressively livelier through the ‘Requiem’, achieving gripping crescendi and excitingly dynamic climaxes. His accomplishments in Frankfurt’s imperial cathedral were all the more impressive for the acoustic challenges presented by the choir’s position in the crossing, resulting only in unclarity of text.

The printed programme inexplicably made no mention of the outstanding female soloist in the ‘Pie Jesu Domine’, nor of the sensitive female cellist. Jonathan Lee and Harrison Cole were the two excellent organists, contributing Bach’s prelude to the Chorale “In dir ist Freude”, but above all the organ part of the Requiem, worked seamlessly and with tonal sensitivity into the overall sound.

The concert brought this year’s Cathedral concert series to an illustrious close; the new season opens on 28th September.”

Gerhard Schroth