Mozart: Symphony no. 29 in A major
Mozart: Requiem Mass in D Minor
Société Philarmonique du Nouveau Monde
Choeur philarmonique du nouveau monde
Michel Brousseau, conductor
Soloists: Maria Knapik (soprano), Stéphanie Pothier (mezzo), Antoine Bélanger (tenor), Jeffrey Carl (baritone)
18 November, Notre-Dame Basilica
Last Saturday, the Société Philarmonique du Nouveau Monde presented two full-house concerts of one of Mozart’s vocal masterpieces: The Requiem Mass in D minor. The first was performed at 3 PM and the second one at 8 PM upon which we based our review.
What you missed:
Normally one doesn’t expect a choir composed mainly of unprofessional singers to steal the show, but they did. They sang with the energy and dramatism that the piece requires. It was remarkable how the soprano section delivered the pianissimos in the confutatis and also the astounding fortissimos that the bass section was able to produce throughout the piece.
Conductor Michel Brousseau did an exemplar job of following the lead singers, he also managed to get great nuances from the choir and struck gold in “confutatis” with the colours he was able to bring out.
The soloists showed great vocal form, even without considering that this was the second of two shows in the same day. Antoine Bélanger stood out with a fresh, charming and young sounding voice. The rest of the soloists also did an admirable job. The blend of the four voices sounded natural, harmonious and balanced when they sang together.
The orchestra left a bit to be desired. In the Symphony no. 29, which was a great selection to start the concert, the orchestra could have polished more the rhythm and the violin section could have had a more voluptuous sound.
The chorus had major intonations difficulties towards the end of the piece, particularly the soprano section.