REVIEW: The Chichester Singers with Southern Pro Musica Brass, Chichester Cathedral

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In a scintillating display of all that is best in English Choral music, the Chichester Singers, together with Pro Musica Brass, soprano soloist Ruth Jenkins and Richard Barnes at the organ gave the packed cathedral audience an evening to remember.

In their 60th anniversary year, the celebratory programme comprised English Coronation gems from Boyce, Handel, Elgar and Walton, as well as an exciting performance of Willcocks’ “Magnificat”.

Ruth Jenkins crowned the event with virtuoso performances which included a stunning performance of Handel’s “Myself I shall adore” with its fast-moving intricate triplets and mesmerizingly pure and high sustained notes in the Willcocks “Magnificat” – singer and cathedral acoustic perfectly matched.

Southern Pro Musica supported the whole concert with their customary joie de vivre whilst the 125-strong chorus did itself proud with tight, focused singing, delighting us with a full range of dynamic and rhythmic contrasts.

Special moments included the dialogues between brass and singers in the Walton “Te Deum”; the Willcocks “Magnificat” whose contemporary colours, cross-rhythms and moments of sheer beauty for soprano solo, demonstrated the composer’s mastery of composition; and finally Parry’s “I was Glad” – the Singers relishing every note. So did we!

John Balsdon