"That fine and often elusive balance between the forthright confident declamation of the soloists and the nimble lyricism of the vocal ensemble, all the same singers, was plain and impressive to behold in a lovely performance of Messiah in St Giles-in-the-Fields just before Christmas. The band of youthful players matched the singers in both virtuosity and thoughtfulness (especially the solo violinist). I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed it all."
I thought the programme, playing, singing, concept and presentation were all absolutely first class. The pairing is completely right - each songwriter nourishes the other in the most interesting way - and the singer's ability to mirror Jeff Buckley’s inimitable vocal acrobatics is just one of the things about the programme that has stayed with me long after you finished. Everyone (and I mean everyone) I spoke to, left absolutely invigorated and enchanted by what they’d seen and heard. I have absolutely no doubt that it’s a programme with serious legs. Connoisseurs of Dowland and Jeff Buckley alike would find so much so love, and the uninitiated would discover two new worlds of great music. The chat - informal but hugely informative - was superb, too. "
The final work, Effy Efthymiou’s I Will Wait, But Not as I Run, was commissioned by Poppleton specifically for the concert. In it, Efthymiou synthesises Boplicity’s Cool Jazz melodies with those of Monteverdi, but through the prism of her own composition style. Two sustained violin parts, rarely more than a semitone apart, provide the backdrop for a battleground of interjecting melodies and violent tutti punctuations, concluding in a haunting final 30 seconds of singing that slips away to nothing. The work was a perfect culmination of the thoughts and processes behind Poppleton’s programme, and by looking back to the great pioneers of Baroque and jazz music, Efthymiou was able to create an equally powerful statement for 21st century inovation.