Concert November 2019

Programme

  • Durufle – Requiem op.9
  • Bernstein – Chichester Psalms
  • Finzi – Lo, the full final sacrifice

Soloists

  • Anna Harvey Mezzo soprano
  • Malachy Frame Baritone

Conductors

  • David Thomas
  • Howard Ionascu
  • Oliver Tarney

Organist

Benjamin Cunningham

Concert Review by Derek Beck

“A very large Cathedral audience was treated to a ‘concert of three conductors’ all from Winchester College and all demonstrating superb choir training credentials. They each directed a major piece of 20th century sacred music with at least two benefiting from the rich ambient acoustic of this vast building.

David Thomas conducted the combined forces of the Winchester Music Club, the College Chapel Choir and its Glee Club to open proceedings with Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in the version with orchestral accompaniment. Winchester’s larger cathedral can play havoc with the balance between instruments and voices and occasional moments of soft choral writing were masked by the orchestra. But this well-drilled and clearly directed performance maintained the disciplined rhythmic zest of the work added to rich choral climaxes and, in the second movement’s 23rd psalm, much tenderness from all participants. Most notable was treble Kyven Tan’s confidently projected and beautifully tuned solo here.

Gerald Finzi’s large-scale anthem Lo, the full, final sacrifice was spectacularly delivered by the immaculate voices of the Chapel Choir, trained and sensitively directed by Howard Ionascu. He shaped every section, controlled every dynamic nuance and established each tempo shift with consummate skill and was rewarded by singing of great conviction and clarity, including impressive tenor and bass solos from College students.

Composer and singing tutor Oliver Tarney led the massed forces once more in one of the most heartfelt performances of Durufle’s Requiem to be heard by this writer. Using the composer’s final (reduced) orchestration, there was no loss of detail but much warmth from the full choir and some ethereal mysticism from the sixteen boy Quiristers. Anna Harvey’s mezzo soprano voice was gorgeous in its lower register and powerful in the higher. She was matched by the resonant baritone solos of Malachy Frame.

Special mention must be made of the exemplary organ playing of Benjamin Cunningham throughout this programme. His registrations were imaginative but always tailored to his accompanying role and he supported the three conductors perfectly.”