Derwent Singers, St Mary’s Church Derby

Derwent Singers, St Mary’s Church, Derby, 28.11.12

Rore is both a major figure in the development of the Italian madrigal, and an important composer of sacred music. The Derwent Singers and conductor Richard Roddis celebrated his 500th anniversary with a performance of his Missa Prater Rerum Seriem.

The performance took a while to settle into a confident relationship with Rore’s seven-part polyphony, with the textures of the Kyrie, in particular, lacking clarity, but things started to become more focused by the time we reached the Credo, performance gaining in security as it went on. I hope they will return to this masterpiece of Renaissance polyphony in due course.

In the second half they were on more familiar ground with Parry’s Songs of Farewell. There was confident, warm tone in ‘My Soul, There is a Country’, building convincingly through the increasingly complex textures of the next four numbers, to end the effectively realised double-choir writing of ‘Lord, Let me Know Mine End’, to words from Psalm 39, the moving final cadence with impressive control.

Mike Wheeler