DARLINGTON Choral Society joined by members from Richmondshire, Yarm and Opera Nova Societies formed a large choir for a performance of Verdi's Requiem, an iconic work in the choral repertoire which tests performers to the full.

At the onset a beautifully hushed "Requiem aeternam" was followed by a thrilling, awesome, full-blooded "Dies irae." The contrasts of dynamics and constantly changing emotions and textures were confidently highlighted throughout. An excellent team of visiting soloists (Elin Pritchard, Marie Elliott, Alexander James Edwards and Timothy Dickinson) not only blended well together as a team but interacted with the choir to superb effect.

There were many glorious moments for the well attended and responsive audience to enjoy. Two of the most challenging sections can be the more complex textures of the "Sanctus" and "Libera me, Domine" especially for a large choir, but not tonight.

Essential for a successful performance of this great work is an experienced orchestra. It is a very demanding score and requires technique and sensitivity from all. The Mowbray Orchestra, as expected, was outstanding in the support given to the choirs.

The Music Director, Richard Bloodworth must be thrilled with what he achieved in his masterly direction of the 200 plus musicians. The weeks of hard work (from all) and expertise on the night resulted in an exhilarating experience for all of us privileged to be in the audience.

Vincent Smith