A series of Coffee Concerts at Bearsden Cross Church culminated on Saturday, May 11 (writes Renton Thomson) in a performance by the Church Choir of Haydn’s Kleine Orgel Messe (Little Organ Mass), conducted by Nairn Maxwell Young and accompanied by a small but highly competent professional string orchestra.
The work was commissioned for the tiny chapel at Eisenstadt with an equally tiny organ. This Missa Brevis was written some seventeen years before the last six great full masses which Robbins Landon describes as “consummate mastery” but it already shows all Haydn’s skills in the manner in which the sustained quality of the singers is thrown into relief by the contrasting inventiveness of the orchestral accompaniment.
This was certainly achieved with the choir, well rehearsed and confident, soaring over the impressive orchestral playing.
Nairn Young’s lively tempi kept everyone on their toes.
Especially enjoyable were moving depiction of the incarnation in the Credo and a lovely soprano solo from Laura Magee in the Benedictus where organist, Alan Kitchen provided a woodwind style contrast to the gentle accompaniment of the strings.
This mature work was flanked by two early masterpieces for string orchestra by Mozart and Britten.
At the tender age of sixteen, Mozart wrote his exhilarating D Major Divertimento K 136.
It was played with verve yet sensitivity with some technical wizardry from the violins.
Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony has many delights. The work is beautifully crafted and the movement titles – Boisterous Bouree, Playful Pizzicato, Sentimental Sarabande and Frolicsome Finale describe the music exactly.
These qualities were fully characterised in Saturday’s performance.
Nairn M Young is organist and choirmaster at Bearsden Cross Church and is to be congratulated on the clever choice of programme for a Saturday morning concert and for achieving such a well balanced and high standard of performance.
The next concert is on Saturday, September 14.