The Renaissance Choir shows versatility

The Emsworth-based Choir presented a programme at St. Peter’s Church, Petersfield on Saturday 21 October, which was the third to be centred around a movement from the mass. This time it was Agnus Dei from 16th to 19th Centuries settings.

The Choir, conducted by Peter Gambie, sang superbly throughout the evening, showing their versatility, with beautiful tone and sustained legato. The Epiphany piece by Orlando di Lasso added an element of joy and the “Evening Song” by Kodaly, sung from behind the attentive audience, provided a sonorous serenity.

Peter Gambie, who has directed the Choir for 25 years, chose pieces which are his favourites. He included compositions by Eric Whitacre, including the atmospheric “Sleep” and the rhythmical, “With a Lily in her hand”.

The pianist Karen Kingsley accompanied the Choir in Beethoven’s Kyrie and a dramatic setting of the Agnus Dei from his Mass in C, the talented soloists being taken from the Choir. She followed this with a brilliantly played Polonaise by Beethoven and, earlier in the evening, a florid and eloquent Nocturne by Fauré.

The final composition, a challenging “Miserere” by James MacMillan, which included extracts from Allegri’s famous piece, showed the strength of each vocal section.

Geoff Porter