Review: The Renaissance Choir at St Peter’s Church in Petersfield

Tigers Jaw

Tigers Jaw put a positive spin on their new life as a duo

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St Peter’s Church suits this choir, both in scale and ambience, and their concert, under the precise direction of Peter Gambie, was something of a triumph.

The main item was reserved for later, but the earlier part of the concert had its own jewels. There was an artfully crafted Missa Salve Regina by Victoria, by turns mellow and rich, bright and complex.

No less affecting was the beautiful In Splendoribus Sanctorum, its Scottish composer James MacMillan, here developing some of his hallmarks, including hauntingly soft unison singing and very long sustained notes.

But it was Mozart’s Requiem that had inspired the large audience to attend. Accompanied by the dexterous and imaginatively coloured organ playing of David Gostick, augmented for the Tuba Mirum by trombone, this was choral singing of some distinction.

Whether in the virtuosic Confutatis or the deeply moving Lacrimosa, the choir and organ worked well together.

Solos were provided by choir members, who rose to the challenge with panache.

Overall ensemble was generally very tight, with fugal lines distinct and musically shaped. The generous, though never muddy acoustic of the church, added to the overarching warmth of the sound.

The Renaissance Choir, winners of this year’s Guide Award, return to Petersfield on October 24, with Rachmaninov’s Vespers, a performance promised to be enhanced by candle-light. Put it in your diaries now.