Choir gears up for concert under new music director

Thomas Neal, the musical director of Portsmouth Festival Choir
Thomas Neal, the musical director of Portsmouth Festival Choir

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PORTSMOUTH Festival Choir says it is ‘thrilled’ to announce its new musical director’s first concert

Thomas Neal was announced as musical director earlier this year and the choir’s first performance with him will take place on Saturday in Portsmouth’s Anglican Cathedral.

The concert will have a strong focus on eastern European music, with the works of Czech composer Dvorák taking the spotlight for the evening.

The central work is Dvorák’s tuneful Mass in D Major. Dvorák created a tune with the atmosphere of his native Czech countryside, a pleasant region of hills and woods.

This performance will be accompanied by postgraduate students from the Royal College of Music – Davidona Pittock, Anna Cooper, Christian Adolph and Dominic Brevan.

Diana Wren from Portsmouth Festival Choir said: ‘Dominic will also feature as tenor soloist in a second Czech work, Our Father by Janácek.

‘This dramatic work deserves to be better known than it is. Janácek, like Dvorák, was one of the many eastern European composers who explored the folk music of their native land and used its themes in their orchestral works.

‘In Our Father the choir and tenor praise God, but also plead with Him to help them in their impoverished lives. Their plea for their daily bread is particularly moving.

‘Davidona will sing the solo in Janácek’s lyrical setting of Ave Maria for soprano and choir.’

As well as choral music, the concert will feature two organ solos by Mark Dancer.

The concert begins at 7.30pm on Saturday.

Tickets cost £12, £10 for concessions and £5 for students, with under-16s free.

To book your tickets, you can call Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral on (023) 9282 3300.

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