"also moments of transcendent beauty"
by Ben Macnair on 28/03/18

Lichfield Cathedral was filled with talented local musicians, when Lichfield Cathedral Chorus, four
classical singers, and The Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra convened to perform Antonin
Dvorak’s Stabat Mater.

The music of the ten movement piece was inspired by the loss of Dvorak’s daughter, with the text
probably taken from the work of the 13 th century writer Bonaventura Fidanza, which was a work of
20 Latin triplets on the agony faced by Mary at the crucifixion.

The massed voices of the Cathedral Chorus and the playing of the Darwin Ensemble Chamber
Orchestra added majesty to the four voices of Gillian Rae-Walker, Hanna-Liisa Kirchin, Edward
Rimmer and Philip Lancaster, whilst everything was under the steady hand off conductor Benjamin
Lamb.

Although the music was packed full of pathos and sadness, there were also moments of
transcendent beauty, particularly during the opening part, or part four, which was a solo for bass
and chorus, whilst the closing three pieces built to a powerfully uplifting finale.

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