Derby Cathedral Choir

Derby Cathedral Choir, Derby Cathedral, 5.12.15

Hugh Morris has been in post as Derby Cathedral’s Master of the Music since last January, but this was the Cathedral Choir’s first concert with him at the helm. An imaginative mix of familiar and unfamiliar Advent music combined with a celebration of St Nicholas, winningly performed, it also featured a welcome return for ex-chorister Felicity Bott as the soprano soloist, whose voice seems to be maturing without losing its fresh, clear tone.

The evening began with JS Bach’s Cantata 140, ‘Wachet Auf’, in which the opening movement was rhythmically buoyant, and the recitatives and duets engagingly sung by Felicity Bott and soloists from the choir.

The choral sound seemed strangely muted, but opened out as the evening went on. The second half began with Haydn’s delightful St Nicholas Mass, and ‘Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland’, by one of the two 17th-century German composers called Johannes Werlin was a real find.

Mike Wheeler