AS THE final note of Vivaldi’s Gloria melted away in an enthralled Christchurch Priory on Monday, the evening’s golden sunset reflecting onto Hans Feibusch's mural behind the altar disappeared from view.

It was a magical moment entirely in keeping with the spellbinding two hours that went before, in the company of the Christchurch Priory Festival Chorus and Orchestra.

More 400 people packed the iconic church and knew they had been part of something very special.

Rousing applause echoed all around at the end of the performance billed as Vivaldi’s greatest hits, part of the annual Christchurch Priory Music and Arts Festival which runs until Saturday.

Mark Derudder, the co-leader of the BSO, led the festival string orchestra as violin solo for the first half of the programme, Vivaldi’s most popular piece, Four Seasons.

The four evocative concertos for solo violin and string orchestra and each consisting of three movements of fast, slow, fast, remain the world’s most popular and recognised pieces of Baroque music.

At the interval Derudder told the Echo the Priory was the most special of places to perform, a sentiment clearly echoed by the whole audience.

The Priory’s director of music, organist and master of choristers, Simon Earl took charge of proceedings to conduct the equally stunning second half, the joyous and uplifting Gloria, composed in Venice three hundred years ago.

With its distinctive rhythms and melodies it is characteristic of all Antonio Vivaldi’s music.

The sunny nature of Gloria, beautifully captured by the wonderful choristers, collectively and in the solo parts, made that sunset moment at the very end even more poignant.

Sometimes it’s about the performance, sometimes the music and sometimes the venue and its acoustics.

On this occasion it was unquestionably all three in equal measure.

I was left wondering why on earth I don’t visit the Priory more often for such experience.

◾The painter and sculptor Hans Feibusch was a refugee from Nazi Germany and in 1967 he painted the mural of the risen Jesus ascending to heaven for Christchurch Priory.