A Christmas Fanfare
Saturday 8 December 2018, 7.30pm
Handel: Coronation Anthems (incl. Zadok the Priest)
Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzonas for Brass
Schutz: Jauchzet dem Herrn (Psalm 100)
Carols for choir & audience
George Castle, organ
Andrew Lumsden, conductor
About this Event
The Waynflete Singers usher in the celebratory mood of Christmas with an exciting programme of choral and brass music, courtesy of Onyx Brass. Three of Handel's Coronation Anthems will be interspersed with Gabrieli's thrilling brass Canzonas, music which is tailor-made for the cathedral acoustic, and Heinrich Schutz's mighty setting for double choir of Psalm 100, Jauchzet dem Herrn. John Rutter's setting of the Gloria provides a brilliant and joyous opener for the second half, which concludes with a selection of Christmas carols for choir and audience, and for choir only, including Silent Night, marking the 200th anniversary of the first performance of this perennial favourite.
The following review appeared in the Hampshire Chronicle on 20 December 2018, submitted by Derek Beck
A seasonal 'fanfare' concert demands brass players and 25 year old Onyx Brass is experienced enough and professional enough to fit the bill. Their basic quintet can be expanded to suit repertoire and nine brass instruments plus percussion supported an exhilarating performance of John Rutter's Gloria by the Waynflete Singers in Winchester Cathedral. They also accompanied carols - including audience participation - and added instrumental items. Apart from a clever version of 'Jingle Bells' (with further audience contributions!) Onyx played two Gabrieli canzonas and slightly lost their way in one where metre shifts can trap the unwary.
Metre and tempo changes offered no challenges to the singers. Throughout the evening one was impressed by the choir's total rhythmic security even in Rutter's taxing asymmetrical fugue in the third movement of the Gloria. In Handel's four Coronation Anthems (receiving their second Cathedral outing in less than a month) there was more scope for errant time-keeping, but not a beat was missed in this rich-toned performance.
A special scoring of the Handel featured organ and brass quintet and unlike the Rutter there was plenty of opportunity to hear the voices separately from the brass which can become overwhelming in this acoustic. Instead, George Castle played the original string parts brilliantly on the organ, always well balanced against the voices.
There was further beautiful unaccompanied singing in a selection of carols for choir alone including two by Russell Hepplewhite dating from 2016 and 2018 respectively. These revealed a flair for melody and choral scoring wedded to sensitivity to texts. They were well matched by conductor Andrew Lumsden's gorgeous arrangement of Silent Night, featuring three fine girl choristers who had graced the Rutter earlier. This whole yule-tide pot-pourri was enjoyed by a very large and receptive audience.