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Mozart: Requiem

- Winchester Cathedral

Mozart: Masonic Funeral Music

Mozart: Serenade in C minor

Mozart: Requiem (Duncan Druce completion)

Ruth Holton – soprano
Frances Bourne – mezzo soprano
Simon Wall – tenor
William Townend – bass

Winchester Music Club
Winchester College Glee Club and Quiristers

Winchester Music Club Orchestra
Brian Howells – leader

Nicholas Wilks – conductor

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Hampshire Chronicle Review by Derek Beck

The new Master of Music at Winchester College, Nicholas Wilks, attracted a near capacity audience for an all-Mozart programme combining Winchester Music Club choir and orchestra, the College Glee Club and the ever professional Quiristers. An instrumental first half set both the mood and the standard of the evening’s music making. Mozart’s rarely heard dark-hued Masonic Funeral Music sounded organ-like in its calm, serious tone – a brief herald of the choral music to come. More varied in atmosphere was the substantial C minor Serenade for wind octet whose four movements range in texture from sombre unisons through lyrical melodies (especially in the superbly played first oboe part) to a canonic Minuet.

Continental Latin pronunciation was not the only ‘new’ aspect to the performance of Mozart’s last composition, his unfinished Requiem. The conductor chose Duncan Druce’s 1992 edition which leaves most of the ideas of Mozart’s pupil Sussmayr untouched save for some extension and harmonic adjustments. However, we were treated to an exciting additional ‘Amen‘ chorus following Druce’s somewhat prolix version of the Lacrimosa. Preparing a new version certainly resulted in a refreshing interpretation with good choral diction, fair balance between sections of the large choir and bright, tuneful tone. Taut rhythms are essential in the cathedral acoustic and Wilks’ vigorous beat ensured security even in the riskier fast movements such as the Confutatis. A youthful, clear-voiced solo quartet (Ruth Holton, Frances Bourne, Simon Wall and William Townend) blended well and was audible at least half way down the cathedral nave. The beautifully delivered trombone solo in Tuba mirum nearly threatened the bass but, as with the rest of the orchestral playing under leader Brian Howell, remained a warm and sympathetic support for the voices.