Stoke Minster was the ideal venue for a special concert by The Barbara Walton Singers to celebrate a remarkable anniversary.
It is 400 years since Claudio Monteverdi composed his Vespers, which proved to be a turning point in classical composition.
His work marked the change from Renaissance music to that of the Baroque period and unusually Monteverdi enjoyed recognition in his own lifetime. The choir, conducted by David Burrowes, enjoys an enviable reputation locally. They were joined by The Eighteenth Century Symphonia, the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble and no fewer than seven soloists. The Minster was ably used to demonstrate the use of gallery and musical echo that Monteverdi would have used himself in St Mark's, Venice.
All the soloists, and notably Stephen Garner, contributed strongly to the recital. The use in the orchestra of the Theorbo (from the lute family), Cornetti (a particular form of horn) and the Sackbut (a sliding trumpet) added to the authenticity of sound. Almost 80 musicians brought a freshness and vibrancy quite unexpected of such an historic work.

Ian White