Concert November 2017
- Brahms Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny)
- Brahms Requiem
- Julie Cooper – Soprano
- James Newby – Baritone
Concert Review by Duncan Eves
Five hundred years ago, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five Theses to a church door in Wittenburg and so it is appropriate that Winchester Music Club chose to perform one of the nineteenth century’s great choral works which draws upon the Lutheran Bible for its text.
Brahms’s ‘German’ Requiem benefits from a large choral sound, a feature amply provided by the combined forces of the Music Club and Winchester College Chapel Choir and Glee Club – approximately two hundred singers. With such large forces it was perhaps inevitable that some blurring of focus would occur in the complex fugues that end the third and sixth movements, but the scale of the music was
never in doubt. The chorus sang with a vigour that overrode any moments of imprecision and created an impressive and glorious sense of grandeur. They also proved that, despite their size, they could sing with a light, freshness of sound in the central ‘How lovely are thy dwellings’. Soft singing was also very effective in the outer movements.
James Newby, the baritone soloist, provided a commanding account of the Last Trumpet, his rich, dark tone filling the cathedral. His diction was excellent, a characteristic also applicable to the soprano soloist, Julie Cooper. She floated her top notes with exquisite control, giving a beautiful rendition of her solo in the fifth movement. A superb pair of singers.
The concert opened with Brahms’s less-frequently heard ‘Song of Destiny’, music suited to the big, warm tone provided by the choir. As ever, the Music Club Orchestra supported the singing with playing that exhibited great sensitivity in solo passages, under the guiding hand of conductor David Thomas.
The concert supported the Winchester music therapy charity ‘Key Changes’.