Stravinsky – Perséphone; Royal Festival Hall

On Sunday 25th September the choir trebles were back on duty at the Royal Festival Hall singing Stravinsky’s Perséphone with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Philharmonia Voices, under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen. One of Stravinsky’s most rarely heard works, Perséphone was originally conceived as a stage production with the text based on an old Greek myth. The melodrama-recitation role of Perséphone was beautifully portrayed by native French speaker, Pauline Chevaller, and the tenor part was sung by Andrew Staples, who will be remembered by many of us for his past performances in Tiffin Oratorio. The boys should be applauded for their rapid learning of the French text, a challenge for those studying German rather than French, and committing it to memory. Positive reviews include:

‘Still younger, of course, were the 28 members of Tiffin Boys‘ Choir, from the Kingston upon Thames school of that name, all attired in their distinctive striped uniform, and lending extra vocal colour to the top line when the score asks for it.’—Seen and Heard International

‘Orchestral textures were sensuous yet lucid, and the choral singing – from the Philharmonia Voices and Tiffin Boys’ Choir – was beautifully refined, nowhere more so perhaps than in the drastically simple lullaby that accompanies Perséphone’s dreams in the underworld.’—The Guardian

Mahler 3

Mahler – Symphony No.3; BBC Proms