FILING out of the Priory on the stroke of ten after the Grange Choral Society’s sell-out Mendelssohn mini-marathon, my own appreciation of his choral writing was satisfyingly re-enforced.

The major portion of this concert was devoted to the seventy-minute Symphony No.2, ‘Hymn of Praise’, under the interim direction of Hugh Morris. To the credit of this highly regarded conductor, the brief orchestral hiatus part way through the first movement was expeditiously resolved.

From the powerful opening of this movement the unhurried pace wound through the following Andante and Minuet to create a soft-toned contrast to the mighty opening chorus, entering with impressive choral weight and underpinned from the Priory’s organ (Chris Dowie). All the succeeding episodes fully conveyed Mendelssohn’s vocal splendour.

Soloists in the symphony included the superb, soaring clarity of soprano Abigail Hooper (shining also in Lauda Sion), the fine, if slightly reticent mezzo-soprano Madeleine Holmes and the smoothly controlled voice of tenor Christopher Bowen.

They were joined by Richard Hooper, bass, in a glowing account of Lauda Sion where all forces engaged Mendelssohn’s marvellous scoring.

However daunting it may have seemed, Priory treble chorister Christopher Betts gave a highly accomplished account of Hear My Prayer from which the euphonious Oh for the Wings of a Dove soared in glorious harmony with the Grange singers.