REVIEW: The Chichester Singers, Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Singers dedicated the main work in their autumn concert to one of their former sopranos Anne Jones who had sung with them for more than thirty years.

Her love of the sea inspired them to sing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sea symphony in her memory.

Unlike other choral symphonies, the choir sang throughout the four movements and were as fresh and vigorous at the end as they were at the beginning of this tour de force.

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The storms and strong winds together with the tranquillity of the calm were convincing performed by the orchestra and singers

Returning to Chichester, the beautiful soprano Bibi Heal excelled in her demanding solo role. Her voice has many qualities from the strong and powerful to the gentle and sublime. Sadly there was no comparison with the quality of her fellow soloist, baritone John Lofthouse whose contribution lacked lustre and power.

Chichester Singers gave a reprise of a work they commissioned for their 50th anniversary year.

In the presence of the composer Malcolm Archer, the choir,

accompanied by The Southern Pro Musica, sang Veni, Creator Spiritus. This choral music based on a seventeenth century poem by

by John Dryden gave the singers the opportunity once again to demonstrate their versatility and passion.

The unmistakeable Elgar sound was beautifully portrayed by the Southern Pro Musica in their superb performance of the overture

Cockaigne. The musicians captured the bustle and panoply of London. The orchestra created the rare power of the music with their vital and vigorous playing. It was brilliantly conducted by Jonathan Willcocks who clearly had a love of this particular piece of music.

Graham Hewitt