Last night (Saturday 19th November), I attended a magnificent concert given by the choirs of Southampton Choral Society and The Portsmouth Choral Union. They were joined together to perform Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem Mass. This is considered one of Verdi’s finest compositions and is deeply religious, but highly operatic in style. It requires double choir, four soloists and orchestra, and each has an equal part to play in the performance.
The Requiem opens quietly and rather mysteriously and the choirs achieved a beautiful warm sound, without their musical scores at this point and thus they had a focused intensity which held the audience.
The soloists were excellent. Claire Seaton Soprano, Diana Moore Mezzo-soprano, John Hudson Tenor and Michael Bundy Bass-baritone who had stepped in at short notice when the intended bass was indisposed. However, I found the Tenor to have a rather “shrill” sound in his higher range, and I have to say the two Sopranos stole the show for me, Diana Moore being my favourite with her poise, volume (I could hear her every note from the rear of the hall) and intensely warm tone.
The orchestra made a lovely sound and accompanied the singers very well, perhaps being a bit over enthusiastic with their volume in places!
David Gostick, Musical Director and Conductor for the evening, held the performance together efficiently and was gentle in his conducting movements as befits an essentially religious work.
The evening ended with the Soprano leading the choirs in quiet un-accompanied singing and this was spectacular. Diction here was particularly good.
All in all, a powerful, accurate performance done with warmth and enthusiasm, and anyone who wasn’t there missed a real treat.