AS part of the Three Choirs Festival, the performance of The Song of Hiawatha was an outstanding performance.
Composed in 1900, it outshone Elgar's Dream of Gerontius in its Birmingham performance of 1901, but over the years it has fallen out of fashion.
This now seems an appropriate time for it to be taken again into the repertoire of larger choral societies.
Composer Coleridge-Taylor expects much from his singers in intensity of emotion and volume, and the Festival Chorus did not disappoint.
On the whole their words were clear, and their response to dynamics was impressive. Theirs was a heartfelt response to this Romantic music.
The composer makes imaginative use of all his forces, painting pictures of the good and bad times endured by the Red Indians (American Indians), not only in choral parts but also in the orchestra.
The "whirling spinning" wind, the Prelude to Part Two suitably dark and ominous, the operatic accompaniment to the arrival of the Christian missionary – all were played with secure conviction by the Philharmonia Orchestra.
The soloists, soprano Hye-Youn Lee, tenor Robin Tritschler and bass Benedict Nelson entered fully into the emotions of the story.
Reponsibility for the success of the above rested with conductor Peter Nardone. Without attracting attention to himself, he guided orchestra and singers with authority, giving clear indications of entries, and drawing rich sounds from his performers, which filled the cathedral with glorious sound.