REVIEW: Portsmouth Baroque Choir at The Church of The Holy Spirit in Southsea

Portsmouth Baroque Choir
Portsmouth Baroque Choir
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Simon Emmett

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For their autumn concert at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Portsmouth Baroque Choir chose a programme of works by Finzi and Kodaly.

In the first part, I felt that the organ, though very well played by Paul Provost, was frequently far too loud.

This was particularly noticeable in Finzi’s God Is Gone Up and the energetic passages of Kodaly’s Missa Brevis. In the more reflective moments, and in Kodaly’s unaccompanied Stabat Mater, it was clear that the choir present a well focused and balanced sound.

Intonation was generally good, with the chromaticism of Crucifixus being a rare exception.

There was also fine solo singing in evidence – including a very well placed soprano high C in the Kyrie of the Kodaly.

Balance between organ and singers was, in the second part, much better. The imitative passages of Finzi’s Magnificat showed the quality of individual vocal lines and there was a well-judged climax at Abraham and his seed, with soprano high notes attacked cleanly and with precision.

Kodaly’s Pange Lingua, with its frequent changes of mood, and tempo, was sensitively handled by conductor Malcolm Keeler.

Their next concert, which features Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, is on Saturday, December 3.