Our first concert after 20 months of enforced silence was certainly the joyous and emotional return to singing that Howard Ionascu, Exeter Philharmonic Choir ’s musical director, had planned. It was wonderful to be back on the stage in the nave of Exeter Cathedral, a place we have all missed so much during the long months of the pandemic.
A large and enthusiastic audience gave the choir, soloists and orchestra a warm and appreciative reception. Many people said afterwards how much they had enjoyed the opportunity to hear live choral music once again.
Howard chose the Fauré Requiem, a choral work much loved for its great beauty, as the focus for the choir’s return. Before that, the European theme of the first half of the concert, sung in French, Russian, German and Latin, showcased shorter pieces of music in a variety of styles.
We were joined by two wonderful young professional soloists, Lucy Cronin and James Geidt, and accompanied by Devon Amici, an ensemble from across the South West, whose playing perfectly complemented the singing.
Our attention now turns to preparations for our two regular evenings of Carols in the Cathedral, on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 December. We look forward to an enjoyable programme of audience and choir carols, with local youth choir Isca Voices appearing as special guests.