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

St George's Church, Portsmouth
St George's Church, Portsmouth
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Over centuries of sacred choral composition a significant number of works have been written for the solemn observance of Lent.

In their concert of Lenten music, The Nelson Consort showed great versatility in producing an ethereal sound for the Renaissance motets of Byrd and Morley, contrasting with a warmer quality in motets written within the last century.

Particular sensitivity was displayed in the performance of the haunting Crucifixus by Peter Fellows and in Herbert Howells’ stunning Requiem.

The concert opened with a setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera, which reflects both the destruction of Jerusalem and of Christ. This is an unsettling piece, and while the Nelson Consort performed this lesser-known work very adeptly, it sat slightly awkwardly in an otherwise well-blended programme.

The intimate rapport between conductor Oliver Hancock and the singers allowed the beautifully tuned, dense harmonies of the Howells to resonate within the church gloriously.

As such, it was a shame to see only a small audience present to appreciate this highly-skilled and evocative performance.