Winchester and County Music Festival Concert

Mozart  Requiem and Vespers

Date Venue
7th May 2016, 07:30 PM Romsey Abbey, Romsey


Conductor: David Burgess.
On the evening of 7th May the Winchester and County Music Festival Choir and Orchestra were joined by a large audience in Romsey Abbey, for an evening of Mozart. On this occasion the choir comprised the Botley Choral Society, Overton Choral Society and the Winchester City Festival Choir. Accompanying the large body of singers was an orchestra of 28 players.
It seems a total injustice that Mozart, despite all his genius, had to scrape a living. In the year before he wrote the Vespers K. 339 his mother died, and he was rejected by the lady of his affections. Despite this, Mozart poured out music of amazing vitality.
The Vespers opened with Dixit Dominus. From the beginning it was clear that we were in for a special evening; the choir and orchestra were well balanced and responsive, and the conductor David Burgess radiated all the energy and invention which Mozart had imbued into this piece. The soloists, Helen Bailey, Soprano, Marie-Anne Hall, Contralto, Adrian Green, Tenor and Tom Herring, Bass Baritone entered at “Gloria in Patri”, and made a very professional sound. Of special mention was the movement “Laudate Dominum” and Helen Bailey’s lyrical introduction to the chorus. The Vespers were brought to an end with a rousing Amen, and the musicians were greeted with enthusiastic applause.
Only the first movement of the Requiem was written in its entirety by Mozart. Due to his failing health, the rest of the work was completed posthumously by others, based on Mozart’s musical shorthand notes, and recollections from his pupils. Nevertheless, Mozart’s genius shines through.
The requiem started with the Kyrie. David Burgess dictated a brisk pace, and the basses, followed by the other parts, responded with spirit. Many of the movements had fast running passages which the choir executed well. In the Confutatis and the Agnus the choir treated us us to some lovely softer singing. The orchestra played sensitively throughout; of special mention were the fast passages in the Dies Irae and Recordare which were brilliantly played by the lower and upper strings respectively. Another delightful passage was the duet between the trombone and the baritone soloist in the Tuba Mirum.
At the end, it was clear that the musicians and the audience had thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Pulling together an event like this, where choirs and orchestra rehearse separately until near the performance, is no mean achievement. This was an outstanding event, and credit should be given to David Burgess, Paul Timms and Graham Kidd who rehearsed the individual choirs.
“Keith Tomkinson and Mike Rowland”

Romsey Abbey – 7th May 2016 – Concert Review