SALISBURY Cathedral on Saturday evening was alive with vibrant music from a host of Salisbury music makers.

The Salisbury Musical Society, who had invited forty other singers to join them for the summer season, was accompanied by Salisbury Symphony Orchestra and four soloists with strong local connections.

First was Mozart’s glorious Vespers. Ian Wicks’ generous and persuasive conducting drew a committed and moving performance from all the musicians.

A highlight was ‘Laudate Dominum’ sung with great sensitivity by the soprano soloist Augusta Hebbert and the choir. In contrast to the the tunefulness and delight of Mozart, came the drama and urgency of Karl Jenkins’ popular recent work, The Armed Man.

This piece was a roller coaster of styles, from the first relentless beat of the snare drums and the deceptively jaunty military style, through the call to prayer, echoing mysteriously. effect round the Cathedral, to the interweaving of drums, brass and strings, the sound from high up under the west window of a lone bugler, Rifleman Ben Rowe, the moving ‘Now the Guns have Stopped’ sung with great beauty by lay vicar, Andrew Stewart, the memorable and familiar cello solo in the Benedictus and the dynamic range of the SMS sound revealed most tellingly in the unaccompanied conclusion when every singer looked up the length of the Cathedral, singing from memory the final words of comfort.

The composer called ‘The Armed Man’ his ‘Mass for Peace’. The singers and players on Saturday night conveyed his message with skill and conviction.

Vanessa Coryndon