REVIEW: The Marian Consort – Brighton Festival

May 16, 2022

All Saints Church, Hove

Friday May 13th at 8.30pm

The Marian Consort in the sublime magnificence of All Saints Church in Hove was a wonderful pairing, the acoustics of this marvellous church allowing the resonant rolls of sound that the overlapping harmonic voices of the Consort generated.

The programme  combined the breathtakingly melancholic requiem setting of Schütz’s Musikalische Exequien from 1635 with specially commissioned work by David Fennessy which were interlaced to be performed in response to the austere brilliance of Schütz’s music.

It’s a beguiling combination of music and style Fennessy’s new work bolding picking up motive’s and echo’s whilst holding it’s own space and place. I was enchanted in the ways that the singer’s used Fennessy’s new pieces to answer the plaintive lyrical articulations of the requiem, adding depth to the reflection of the music. The crisp annunciation of the funeral German was precise and allowed the music to follow the complex changing patters of single voice and ensemble. The pairing lulled me into a reflective state of contemplative bliss and the concert passed in the blink of an eye which seemed to last for eternity.

I adore the opportunity to bliss out and as I was wrapped in the pure voices of the consort, bouncing ideas of mortality and immorality  back and fore, over and under, though and part of, my mind dissolved into the complexity of this extraordinary masterpiece. It’s pairing of chant and solo, or harmonic and single voice, of pairings and sharing is sublime, evoking a strong sense of belief and humility before struggles of fate and destiny. With Jan Waterfield & Peter McCarthy’s mournful and perfect continuo playing this was a treat, as dusk fell and the voices rose, my soul fluttered.

An evening of  evocative and thrilling singing perfection in the theatrical architectural brilliance of All Saints.

Full details of the concert here on the festival website site


Rory McCleery, director

Alexandra Kidgell, Elspeth Piggott, soprano

Martha McLorinan, Judy Louie Brown, alto

Will Wright, Chris Lombard, tenor

Jon Stainsby, Chris Webb, bass

Jan Waterfield, Peter McCarthy, continuo


More info on the Brighton Festival, which runs to May 30th, here