Review: The King’s Singers at Portsmouth Cathedral

The King's Singers performed at Portsmouth Cathedral
The King's Singers performed at Portsmouth Cathedral
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Billed as one of the world’s most celebrated ensembles, The King’s Singers did not disappoint.

Striking a perfect balance between performing to – and flirting with – the audience, they sang a sea-themed programme of which the seagulls outside obviously approved.

Their first set comprised a series of folk-songs arranged by various composers, including former King’s Singer Bob Chilcott. The richness of tone in these sumptuous arrangements belied the fact that there were but six singers. The second set featured pieces from the Spanish Renaissance, from drinking songs to laments, and the first half closed with a serious but humorously-delivered moral message in Mateo Flecha’s La Bomba. The second half demonstrated The King’s Singers’ seamless blend of vocal tone while showcasing the strengths of the individual voices: Hurley’s soaring range and Howard’s rich and seemingly bottomless lower register were particular highlights of the two Songs of Farewell by Parry.

Then followed two pieces by the French Romantic composer Saint-Saëns, before a selection of the Singers’ personal favourites.

The whole concert was a fabulous mix of pathos and humour, with perfect diction in the often tricky acoustic of the Cathedral Nave.

Their next engagements are in France – what better excuse for a holiday!