Sullivan Without Gilbert
Rarely performed works by Arthur Sullivan were on this programme at Eye Church conducted by Alain Judd.
The Overture Di Ballo pre-dates Sullivan’s days with Gilbert, while his Boer War Te Deum
comes from his life’s end.
The tuneful, friendly Di Ballo, with its polonaise, waltz and galop sections, and a classical sheen gave a firecracker start by the Burgate Sinfonia.
No tedium in the Te Deum but rip-roaring praise, with its stirring inclusion of Onward Christian Soldiers.
A dozen years later the hymn was parodied in the trenches as Forward Joe Soap’s Army.
Requiem for An Unknown Soldier, by John Carol Case, was another little-known gem. Dating from WW2, it began spare and stark, built to a life-affirming climax and peace at the last.
The Mefistofeles Prologue, by Arrigo Boito, with nods to Goethe and Wagner, made hell’s foundations quiver.
With a charming, rogue devil, bass James Gower, pitting his vocal powers against the heavenly host, this was high drama.