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Review: Catrin Finch @ Lichfield Cathedral

A packed audience for this late night event as evidenced by the elegant scrum for the unreserved seats in the cathedral’s Presbytery.

Catrin Finch is a beautiful young woman who plays the harp wonderfully  and has won oodles of prizes for it. Her recording of the Goldberg we are told went into the UK Classical CD charts at No.1. She certainly can play extremely well, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to hear the Variations again.

But to be strictly honest I’m not too sure about the harp which seems too limited in its tonal range to express the full profundity and sublime quality of the music, pretty, undeniably, but unable to span the variations in tone the score requires.

I loved the promise of candlelight, and the excellent programme notes drew attention to the setting, pointing out that hearing the music by night in a great ancient building should have a special resonance. But in fact Festival organisers missed a trick because the powerful spotlights were full on the audience when really it was only the performer who needed to be lit. There were candles, true, but this negated their effect and meant the totally attentive audience sat in a rather unmagical light.

This gave me the opportunity to watch a lady in the row in front chewing gum through the whole of the Variations, faster when the music sped up and slower during the more thoughtful moments. A little more gloom might have made the performance more atmospheric in what is already an exceptionally resonant space.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.