THE keenly-anticipated performance of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers at Durham Cathedral brought together a impressive array of musical talent.

The passion of the Durham Singers, experience of the renowned I Fagiolini, authenticity of The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble and Monteverdi String Band were combined with the enthusiasm of the Durham Johnston School Chamber Choir and Durham County Youth Choir.

All were brought together seamlessly throughout by director Robert Hollingworth, opening with a powerful rendition of Deus in adiutorium meum.

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The psalm settings were punctuated by sterling plainchant antiphons from boys the of the choir, while the girls shone in a heavenly Sancta Maria.

The polyphonic setting of Dixit Dominus featured an animated sense of dialogue between the soloists and the bigger chorus, while the Lauda Jerusalem was attacked with vigour and underpinned by a marvellously rich bass line. Soloists Matthew Long and Greg Skidmore, joined later by Nicholas Hurndall Smith, gave a thrilling account of the Duo Seraphim.

Long’s dexterous delivery of the Audi coelum, was a highlight of the evening, as Francesca Massey swopped places with Hollingworth for the movement to shape beautiful choral responses.

The instrumentalists revelled in an orchestral interlude in the shape of a Canzone Prima from Giovanni Pruili’s Sacrorum concentuum.

The splendour and sinuous vocal lines of the Magnificat were spellbinding, with the final Amen resonating around the cathedral.

It was a memorable evening for audience and performers alike.

Gavin Engelbrecht