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Wednesday 22nd May 2019

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A BAROQUE CELEBRATION

The Evening of February 2nd saw the Methodist Church in Chandlers Ford as the venue for a concert of Baroque music given by the Winchester City Festival Choir under the direction of Graham Kidd.  Forget Brexit, we had a musical tour of Italy, (Spain), Germany and London.

The programme began with Monteverdi’s “Beatus Vir” probably written in about 1630.  Apart from one or two timing and tuning issues, the work was enjoyable to listen to and Graham Kidd’s direction was, as always, on the mark.  I’m not sure that the acoustics of the building were particularly helpful to the choir, but certainly the tutti passages felt much more secure.

The “Dixit Dominus” by Isabella Leonarda seemed a difficult piece, but I have to say that all the melismatic passages were really well controlled.  The soloists were absolutely delightful (as they were in the other pieces).  How refreshing it is to hear Baroque music sung without a wide vibrato.

Domenico Scarlatti, started off in Italy, but ended up in Madrid where he wrote much of his music.  The “Iste Cofessor” was singularly delightful and beautifully sung.

The first half concluded with Carissimi’s “Jepthe,” which involved Graham Kidd revealing his prowess at multitasking. A difficult work, well executed, although I felt that some of the middle part entries were a little lost behind the volume of parts already singing.

The second half gave us works by Bach and Handel. The “Lobet den Herrn” by J S Bach was exceptionally well controlled and well balanced.  The final work, Handel’s Chandos Anthem  No. 9 was a fitting end to the concert.  The orchestra supported the choir really well, and they together with the excellent soloists all played their part to bring an excellent ending to the evening.

This review appeared in the Hampshire Chronicle

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