Review: Renaissance Choir, Portsmouth Catholic Cathedral

The view is glorious as we head to Victorious!

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A programme entitled Food of Love produced distinguished, pure-toned music-making, as ever, from the Emsworth-based Renaissance Choir – even if the material itself seemed (to these ears) of mixed quality.

In three pieces by American composer Eric Whitacre, for example, the performances failed to persuade me that his music has the depth to justify its current popularity.

But perhaps that is to be expected when you set him alongside masters such as Lassus (from the 17th century) or even Howard Skempton and John Rutter (from the 20th and 21st).

What is beyond question is that Peter Gambie continues to inspire not only skilled but vividly expressive singing from his select choir.

It performed unaccompanied except in Rutter’s Of A Rose where Karen Kingsley played an electronic piano – as she did in the solo items.

The instrument’s sound makes little appeal to me, although her playing of the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was supreme in its unfailing rhythmic limpidity.

Miriam Anscombe’s soprano solo in Holst’s This Have I Done For My True Love had the proper, pure element of folk inspiration.