Nielsen: Springtime on Funen, Beethoven: Symphony no. 9
- Winchester Cathedral
Katherine Crompton – soprano
Frances Bourne – mezzo soprano
Tom Randle – tenor
Derek Welton – bass
Winchester Music Club
Winchester College Glee Club and Quiristers
Voices from St Swithun’s School
Winchester Music Club Orchestra
Brian Howells – leader
Nicholas Wilks – conductor
There was a retiring collection in aid of Countess Mountbatten Hospice.
by Duncan Eves
Winchester Music Club and Orchestra Concert
Winchester Cathedral, in the presence of the Danish Ambassador
Beethoven ‘Nine’: one of the world’s cultural cornerstones, a hymn to joy that urges mankind to unite, yet simultaneously divides critical opinion over its musical flaws and its performing challenges (I don’t think I have ever met any chorus singer who enjoys rehearsing the Ode to Joy!). If ever a piece of music has the ability to generate a feeling of unity, of brotherhood, in its performers and its audience, this is it and, under the authoritative baton of Nicholas Wilks, the combined forces of the Music Club, the Winchester College Glee Club and Quiristers and St. Swithun’s School choir hurled out Beethoven’s message with an unmissable energy. The first three movements demonstrated the control and musicianship of the orchestral players: melodic lines flowed and individual orchestral touches, such as the horn solo in the third movement, were stylish. Some detail was lost in the Scherzo due to the reverberant acoustic, but we were suitably recompensed by a rich string tone in the first play-through of the famous Ode theme in the finale, with its inventive bassoon counterpoint.
The four soloists – Katherine Crompton, Frances Bourne, Tom Randle and Derek Welton – blended well and the tenor sang with the right abandon in his solo following the earthiness of the Turkish march passage. The massed choral forces conveyed both the power and the sheer joy of this music.
Earlier in the concert we heard a rare performance of Carl Nielsen’s ‘Springtime on Funen’. His delectable short piece, with its evocations of idyllic country life on the island of Funen, featured some lovely wind solos from clarinet and bassoon and the innocent sound of children’s voices as they teased and played games. The Music Club forces were just as adept at portraying country peasants as they were at spreading Beethoven’s message of universal brotherhood.