REVIEW: Nelson Consort, St George’s Church, Portsea

St George's Church, Portsea
St George's Church, Portsea

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I love this kind of musical journey – all the way from religious texts to Blue Moon and Over The Rainbow, all sung with artistry and precision.

The programme, entitled One Equal Light and including works by five living composers, was another vibrant offering from the Portsmouth Festivities.

A choir of eight soloists, mostly from the city’s Anglican cathedral, was directed by sub-organist Oliver Hancock with quiet flair across the spectrum.

First-half highlight was I Saw Eternity, by Alexander Campkin, born in 1984 and here creating challengingly close harmonies for the two sopranos. It might have felt like film music, evoking the eeriness of space, except that this had genuine mysticism.

Hymn To The Creator Of Light largely represents composer John Rutter at his least Rutter-like, apart from one joyous outburst, and was all the more striking for it.

Neil Cox’s Keep Me as the Apple of an Eye switched in a blink from exhilarating to other-worldly, and led neatly into those show songs, with home-grown Portmuthian soprano Rachel Barrett making me wish the West End had more singers of her quality. Gorgeous.