A Spring Concert
- Winchester College New Hall
Brahms: Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny)
Barber: Adagio for Strings
Chilcott: Canticles of Light
Bruckner: Motets – Locus Iste, Os Justi, Ave Maria
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Lambert: The Rio Grande
Christine Targett – contralto
Christopher Seed – piano
Winchester Music Club and Orchestra
The Girl Choristers of Winchester Cathedral
Francis Wells – leader
Neil Chippington – conductor
from the Hampshire Chronicle, unattributed
New Hall, Winchester College, was the venue for a concert by the city’s Music Club Choir and Orchestra, conducted by Neil Chippington.
Brahms’ Song of Destiny is one of his best short choral works. Most of the work is restrained but there are several dramatic climaxes and the contrasting dynamics brought suitable response. Occasionally the orchestra was inclined to predominate, particularly noticeably in the alto opening lead.
Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings retained the transparent texture of the original string quartet version and just needed more feeling of tension as the melodic lines unfolded. The programme note spoke of it as “an emotionally- charged piece”.
Canticles of Light, commissioned from Bob Chilcott for the club’s 75th anniversary in March 2000, is a largely reflective piece based on three Latin hymns, two from Compline and one from Lauds, and made an appropriate offering. The choir sang with confidence and pleasing tone quality throughout, while the Girl Choristers of Winchester Cathedral, placed in the gallery at the back, added a totally secure and unanimous second choir thanks to Sarah Baldock’s skilful training.
Both choir and orchestra were on best form after the interval and three unaccompanied motets by Bruckner – Locus Iste, Os Justi and Ave Maria – all contained the pliant and expressive variations of dynamics they require.
Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll is a tender birthday present to his wife just after the birth of their son. Using a small orchestra, the transparency of the wonderful polyphonic texture, employing themes from the opera Siegfried, allowed several very commendable short instrumental solos to be heard. Throughout, good forward momentum and suppleness were maintained.
The Rio Grande is Constant Lambert’s most popular choral work; inspired by a poem by Sacheverall Sitwell, it evokes all the excitement of a Brazilian Carnival in its lively syncopations. As well as involving a large orchestra – minus woodwind – with much percussion, the score has a prominent part for piano, played on this occasion by Christopher Seed. If Mr Seed’s commandingly brilliant account of the keyboard part was a large factor in the success of the performance, both choir and orchestra and the contralto soloist, Christine Targett, deserve full recognition for their contributions to a very demanding composition that contrasts exhilarating exuberance with moments of sustained tranquillity.