Review: The Nelson Consort at St George’s Church, Portsmouth

Portsmouth Philharmonia players following their concert to raise funds for Hayling Island Community Centre

STUART REED: Players pull out all the stops at charity concert

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It is the aim of Portsmouth’s newest chamber choir, The Nelson Consort, to perform familiar and unfamiliar repertoire to a very high standard.

This they achieved superbly in their Music for Lent and Passiontide concert.

This highly skilled group of eight singers is discreetly, and sensitively directed by Oliver Hancock.

Throughout the programme there was a fine sense of ensemble and wide dynamic range on display. Similarly, intonation and chording, especially in the complex harmonies of motets by Poulenc and Leighton, was of a very high order.

For many in the audience, the Requiem of Herbert Howells was a particular highlight. Normally performed by larger choirs, it challenges the singers with its sustained vocal lines and frequently very dissonant harmonies.

With only eight singers there is no room for passengers, and this excellent performance clearly demonstrated the individual skill of each member of the group.

This intimate interpretation was notable for the clarity of individual melodic lines, sustained and finely tuned soft singing and the sonority of its musical climaxes.

Their next concert is on Friday, May 8, at St George’s, and I would encourage any lover of fine choral singing to attend.