Concert November 2018

WMC Concert November 2018

Programme

  • Bach Magnificat 
  • Handel Coronation Anthems
  • Britten Hymn to St Cecilia (sung by the College Chapel Choir)

Soloists

  • Carine Tinney (soprano)
  • Helen Charlston (mezzo soprano)
  • James Way (tenor)
  • Aidan Smith (bass)

Conductors

  • David Thomas
  • David Hurley (the College Chapel Choir

The Winchester Music Club and musicians from Winchester College together celebrated the feast day of the patron saint of music, St Cecilia, in the magnificent surroundings of Winchester Cathedral. Celebratory music by the two giants of the late Baroque contrasted with a contemplative prayer by the finest English composer of the 20th century. A quartet of exciting soloists were supported by the Music Club’s expert orchestra, under the direction of David Thomas.

Concert Review by Duncan Eves

The massed forces of the Music Club choir and orchestra combined with Winchester College Glee Club and Chapel Choir always present an impressive spectacle on the cathedral’s staging and their choice of music for this concert was equally imposing: Handel’s four Coronation Anthems and J. S. Bach’s Magnificat. 

Sandwiched between these two baroque giants was a fine performance of Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia, sung by the College Chapel Choir with impeccable tuning and blend. Full marks to the various soloists who brought out their individual phrases with clarity of text and tone.

The Coronation Anthems respond well to massed voices, especially in the grand choral moments, such as the opening of ‘Zadok the Priest’ and here the large choir did not disappoint. Some lack of clarity in a few sections was partly due to the cavernous cathedral acoustic but also, in part, due to large forces having to negotiate fast-moving passages, where precision of notes and text had moments of raggedness. The overall effect, thrill and enjoyment still came across well, however, and The King Shall Rejoice provided a suitably rousing conclusion, with trumpets and drums adding to the celebratory mood.

Bach’s Magnificat presents some demanding technical challenges for all participants, but under David Thomas’s direction, this was a stirring performance. The four soloists, Carine Tinney, Helen Charlston, James Way and Aidan Smith all acquitted themselves admirably in their arias and, when they duetted, the vocal blend was excellent. The interplay between soloists and the orchestral soloists was beautifully handled – some excellent wind and continuo playing making the arias a highlight (I particularly enjoyed Helen’s ‘Esurientes’ with its delightful flute obbligato). The orchestral playing generally was extremely stylish and the trumpets excelled themselves in their key moments. The choral challenges were
tackled confidently – some of Bach’s runs are so hard to articulate – and the joyfulness of the text came through very clearly, making a fitting celebration of music’s patron saint. 

In support of the local music therapy charity, Key Changes a retiring collection was held.