Review: Spem in Alium at Holy Trinity Church, Southsea

The Rampant at the ramparts of Portchester Castle in 1967. L to r: Peter Richardson (aka Ritchie Peters  they turned his name around) vocals, Ron Hughes guitar, Ken Hughes (his brother) drums, Don Golding bass, Mick Cooper Hammond organ.

NOSTALGIA: Still Rampant after all these years – the band that just keep giving...

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Opportunities to hear Tallis’s mighty 40-part motet Spem in Alium, and the work that influenced it, Ecce Beatam Lucem, by the Italian composer Striggio, are understandably rare.

On Saturday however, a large audience at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Southsea, was treated to a feast of mainly Renaissance polychoral music, which focused on these works.

This imaginatively-programmed concert was a combined effort by Portsmouth Baroque Choir, The Renaissance Choir, Portsmouth Cathedral Choir and Cantate.

Their conductors, Malcolm Keeler, Peter Gambie and David Price are to be congratulated, not only on the high musical standard that was evident, but also in the organisation and choreography of such a complex concert.

Each choir, when singing their own individual items, displayed a distinctive musical personality, yet when they came together for the Tallis and Striggio, the sound was well-blended and unified. The climactic moments were full-bodied and thrilling.