Quirister Concert at St Cross
It has been well over two years since the Quiristers last performed in St Cross...
...and almost as long since they performed a concert of their own anywhere, so it was with a welcome feeling of “back to normal” that St Cross Chapel – albeit still masked! – began to fill last Saturday evening.
The choir filed into the nave and set to work as if they’d never been away. Dyson’s unison setting of Praise was delivered with brightness and confidence, and gave a good platform to build onto Fauré’s more challenging Messe Basse, written specifically for a treble choir. Laurie S led the Kyrie in an assured solo with the choir moving from repeating the theme to harmonizing; the modern Sanctus was an ethereal series of close harmonies; before the Agnus Dei closed the work out in a unison that divided to rich harmony in the final few bars.
The Laudamus Te from Vivaldi’s Gloria then took us back to the Baroque with vitality and bounce, the two sides of the choir passing the theme between each other, before the two junior years stepped back to let the Years 7 and 8 deliver a mellow, serene Oh Rest in the Lord from Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
The Year 8s then took themselves back to the altar for an unconducted rendition of the Pie Jesu from Fauré’s Requiem. The tone was deep, the notes well-placed even with the big jumps that the piece demands, and the timing was perfection, with the four boys watching each other to sing as one.
Christopher Tambling’s arrangement of Martin Nystrom’s As the Deer Pants for the Water gave the choir the chance to show its strength in depth, with the solos first being shared among the Year 7s, before the Year 6s stepped up as a group, all of them delivering with aplomb.
At this point, the choir took a break and we were treated to a performance by some of Winchester College’s music scholars with a masterful performance of Borodin’s string quartet No 2 in D major.
The second half was dedicated to more modern works. Henry B took on the solos in Howard Goodall’s setting of Psalm 23 as if he owned the place, and given that one of his ancestors had once been Master of St Cross, that might not have been so far from the truth. The Water is Wide by Hayes was a lovely round, with Christopher H stepping forward for the beautifully-tuned solos over a dancing piano.
At this point the programme moved clearly out of the traditional classical domain. Bridge over Troubled Water picked out Paul Simon’s trademark harmonies, Five Eyes by Cecil Armstrong Gibbs evoked the scrabbling of the cats in the piece as they chased rats around their mill, and then Ollie M and Thomas E told us the end was now near with a confident lead in Sinatra’s My Way.
All in all, a concert well in keeping with the fireworks celebrations outside – plenty of bright sparkle, pops and whizzes to keep us entertained! Our thanks to Howard Ionascu and of course to the inimitable Ben Cunningham for putting it all together.
Late news in:
The concert raised £1200 and the church are delighted. They are looking forward to welcoming the full chapel choir to sing in December.