Review: Messiah at St Thomas Cathedral

From left, Phil Shulman, Derek Shulman, Tony Ransley, Kerry Minnear, Ray Shulman at the induction of Gentle Giant into the Guildhall's Wall of Fame

Gentle Giant prove they’re still a huge draw as they’re inducted in to the Guildhall’s Wall of Fame

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THE phrase ‘young people of today’ is usually followed by something highly critical.

But the (mostly) young people of Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral choirs produced a truly outstanding performance of Handel’s Messiah.

Their technique is first-rate, producing fast-running phrases with consummate ease and a deliciously rich tone. The equally youthful Capelle Baroque orchestra was on sparkling form.

The large audience was treated to spellbinding performances from two vintage soloists, Catherine Bott and James Bowman. Both luminaries showed why they have remained at the top of their profession for so long. They will have performed the work countless times but succeeded in producing fresh interpretations with impeccable communication.

Bass soloist, Ed Ballard, is a rising young star with a fine career ahead of him. Andrew King was tenor soloist but the sometimes difficult cathedral acoustic wasn’t always flattering to his fine voice.

At the helm stood the authoritative figure of David Price, who was in supreme control. Of particular delight was his interpretation of the final movement, where Handel initially veils the excitement of his final Amen before inexorably moving to a climax of wonder and awe.