AN Evening of Brahms at Malvern Theatres last Saturday was given unexpected form by conductor Iain Sloan’s unusual choice of programming.

Two pieces, the Requiem and the St Anthony Chorale Variations, were played interspersed, giving both the feel of familiar landscapes seen from a different viewpoint.

Whether or not this allowed each work to develop into its full intensity may be a matter of opinion, but the Festival Chorus and the Regency Sinfonia gave us a lovely evening of music.

The choir sounded particularly good in the great fugues, while soprano Julie Kennard and bass Ian Caddy’s sensitive interpretations effectively offered the consolatory message of the Requiem to each listener.

Since the spirit of the Variations is also firmly buoyant and optimistic, playing the two works in turns did perhaps create a kind of dialogue between them.

I look forward to the next concert on 15 June.

Review by Nicola Matheson