NEWPORT BEACH — Music Director William Hall led the Master Chorale of Orange County into war Sunday night with the very reverberant hall at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. His troops fought bravely, but victory eluded them.
The main battle in this program of works by Maurice Durufle occurred over his Requiem, Opus 9. The choir attacked in force, with neat intonation, and crystalline enunciation. Unfortunately for them, Durufle had reserved the loudest dynamic indications for startling effects in this (potentially) intimate work. The Chorale struggled through a full third of the mass before heeding Hall's urgings to hold back.
Since the chorale's piano bore a close resemblance to its mezzo forte during this surprisingly extended period of adjustment, contrast proved problematical. All of the loud sections were very loud indeed--a strident, nearly screaming "Libera eis" capped the third movement.
To their credit, however, the singers usually managed to control tone quality, at least after the women delivered a subdued, simply stated "Sanctus." Here, the triple- forte "Hosannas" emerged a welcome contrast.