Review: Portsmouth Baroque Choir at Holy Trinity Church, Gosport

The Handsome Family. Picture by Brandon Soder

Life Through The Trees is looking handsome at 20

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Holy Trinity is an ideal venue for concerts of chamber-size choral music and its acoustic suited Portsmouth Baroque Choir’s programme of Handel and Scarlatti.

The Baroque Choir is a well-balanced group of singers and in Saturday’s concert they displayed clear and focussed singing from all voices. Their soprano line, mainly divided for this concert, was particularly strong.

Conductor Malcolm Keeler maintained a rhythmic forward momentum in Scarlatti’s Saint Cecilia Mass, and the frequent changes of tempo in the Gloria were well judged and executed.

Handel’s Dixit Dominus is perhaps one of the most difficult of Baroque choral works and the singers rose magnificently to its various challenges. Only once, at ‘et non poenitebit’, did I feel an element of ‘getting ahead of the beat’.

Elsewhere the singing was vibrant and well prepared, this was particularly evident in the very lively tempo of the final fugal ‘et in saecula’, and this brought the concert to an exciting conclusion.

The Baroque Choir’s reputation for fielding high-quality soloists from within its ranks was maintained by sopranos Siân Bibby-Hsia and Pru Bell-Davis joining the concert’s four professional soloists. The concert was stylishly accompanied by members of the Consort of Twelve.