Beethoven: Mass in D, Op. 123, 'Missa Solemnis'
'Once described as ‘ the greatest work never heard’, the Mass is not performed that often, particularly by non-professional musicians who are perhaps discouraged by the apparent need for vast forces and the relentless musical demands. More credit then to Marcio da Silva and the Hastings Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra for rising so brilliantly to the challenge and producing a superb performance. A choir of around 60 and an orchestra of 34 provided an insight into the subtleties and details of the work often concealed by more gargantuan performances ... The choir and soloists responded well to the variety of pace and the harmonic complexities of the Agnus Dei, leading to some thrilling climaxes and the surprisingly calm, almost abrupt ending – and there were few signs that they choir had tired at all, relentlessly demanding as the work is.' (Jonathan Watts, Classical Music Reviews, susanelkin.co.uk, 16 November 2023)
'The entry of the soloists and the choir at the opening of the kyrie was spine-tingling. The sound of an orchestra and a choir in a church acoustic was awe-inspiring.' (Trevor Jones, Hastings Online Times, 24 November 2023)
'The Hastings Philharmonic Choir go from strength to strength, and their performance seems to improve as they tackle more and more difficult music with a determination encouraged by, and engendered in, their leader, Marcio Da Silva. His management of both the choir and the orchestra is admirable. The extended Amen in the Gloria was especially fine – Beethoven rocks!' (Victoria Kingham, Hastings Independent, 29 November 2023)
'All were in full splendid voice. The drama and dymamics of the score, the excellence of the De La Warr acoustics and above all the soaring voices were a sound to cherish. [...] In evidence throughout were the sheer joy of the choirs and orchestra and the enthusiasm and skill of all the conductors and choir leaders. A mighty accomplishment.' (Vera Bell, Hastings Independent, 11 August 2023)
April 2023 Haydn: Te Deum, Mozart: 'Great' Mass in C minor, K.427 '[The Mass] calls for a complex division of voices in the Sanctus and the final Benedictus, extremely well sung by the choir […] The entire Mass was a triumph, not least because of the quality and skill of the choral singing. […] The fine choral part singing and the sensitive standard of orchestral and vocal interplay, the dynamics, the general exuberance, indicated not only the talent of the choir but the strength of Da Silva’s leadership.' (Victoria Kingham, Hastings Independent, 21 April 2023)
November 2021 Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna, Mozart: Requiem 'There were some spine-tingling moments, noticeably the beginnings of the Lacrymosa and Sanctus. The overall performance from the combined forces here proved to be a satisfying conclusion to an enjoyable evening under the familiar baton of Marcio da Silva.
It is good to see the Philharmonic Choir back, performing a mixture of the well-known and the less performed.' (Lark Reviews, 6 November 2021)
November 2019 Britten: Saint Nicolas ‘The men’s chorus were particularly strong in the journey to Palestine with the higher ladies voices adding the waves and the angels. The work may have been written with amateurs in mind but there is nothing simplistic about the writing which is highly demanding throughout.’ (Lark Reviews, 3 November 2019)
July 2019 Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle ‘It was beautifully and arrestingly sung. The balance was absolutely right and the choir maintained that equilibrium throughout the performance. I was very much impressed by the choirs’ attention to dynamics. … What was most impressive to me was that the men, few in number – 9 tenors and 8 basses – were heard as strongly, as softly, as effectively and harmoniously as the outnumbering women. Well done men!’ (Lark Reviews, 8 July 2019) March 2019 Carl Orff: Carmina Burana ‘this is not … a work for the chorally faint hearted. High spots included the vibrant sound in the opening and closing choruses, the very rich confident alto work in the exposed section of Primo vere and slow section of Swaz hie gat umbe and the well-handled shift into 3/4 time for Floret silva.’ (Lark Reviews, 7 April 2019)
December 2018 Carols for All ‘Marcio da Silva drew on the strengths of solo voices in the choir not only in the spiritual but also for the opening of In the bleak midwinter and the voices of the kings in We three kings.’ (Lark Reviews, 16 December 2018) November 2018 Handel: Messiah ‘Many choirs trot out Messiah as if they don’t need to do anything because they know it so well. Then along comes Marcio da Silva with a reading fresh as a daisy to persuade us that we have actually failed to pay attention to a masterpiece. The approach was exhilarating throughout …’ (Lark Reviews, 11 November 2018)
July 2018 Opera Gala ‘If they were letting their hair down just a little it was rarely at the expense of the music, which came across with bold authority throughout’ (Lark Reviews, 8 July 2018)
May 2018 Verdi Requiem ‘the massed voices proved to be impeccably well disciplined. Rhythms throughout were tight and Verdi’s sudden endings given all the lightning control they need. Where sheer volume is required it got it – the Dies Irae only being topped by the force of Rex tremendae and the joyous outpouring of the Sanctus. Yet the opening bars had been as hushed and reflective as I can recall hearing them. A masterly shaping of the narrative as it unfolded …’ (Lark Reviews, 6 May 2018)
July 2017 Duruflé Requiem ‘The clarity of text was impressive and the Kyrie beautifully crafted. The sudden outpouring of the Hosanna was thrilling in its impact and the Sanctus had a warm lightness of touch.’ (Lark Reviews, 16 July 2017) April 2017 Mozart Requiem ‘an impassioned reading of the Requiem. The chorus were in excellent voice here and the rhythms were crisp and clean throughout. There was a real sense of bite in the Rex tremendae, an empathic sensitivity in the Lacrimosa and joy in the Sanctus. Phrasing was finely crafted and balance throughout excellent.’ (Lark Reviews, 2 April 2017
November 2016 Philip O’Meara No Man
Beethoven Symphony No. 9 ‘energetic and incisive singing from the very large chorus’ (David Pullen, Hastings Online Times, 15 November 2016)