News from WMC
St Cecilia's Day Concert 22 November 2022
Review by Duncan Eves
“Winchester Music Club chose to celebrate the patron saint of music with a varied and brilliant
programme which allowed the choir, orchestra and soloists and, in particular, their new
conductor, to shine. Sarah Baldock, recently appointed to the post of Director of Music at
Winchester College, displayed total command of the assembled forces in a manner that was
fully controlled yet devoid of any empty showmanship or gesture. The Music Club choir and
orchestra and the Winchester College Glee Club and Chapel Choir responded with some
Poulenc’s Gloria contains some challenging writing but the well-rehearsed choir and orchestra
conveyed both the harmonic and rhythmic demands and the lyricism of this work.
Winchester’s own star soprano, Anna Dennis, was a commanding presence, singing with power
but also with much tenderness. There were some beautiful floating lines in the softer passages
with moments of exquisite singing. As for power, her unaccompanied ‘Amen’, beginning on a
fortissimo top G, must have stirred the bones of the ancient kings as it echoed down the nave.
The other major work came in the second half of the concert: For St. Cecilia by Gerald Finzi.
The ceremonial mood of this work was brilliantly portrayed by the brass section while the
choir sang with conviction and enthusiasm. Tenor Nicky Spence conveyed the wonders of
Saint Valentine, George, Dunstan and Swithun in a glorious fashion, heroic tones mingling with
more lyrical hues, while the choir excelled themselves in capturing the music’s majesty.
Winchester College Chapel Choir under the direction of Howard Ionascu gave a fine rendition
of Stanford’s WW1 anthem For lo, I raise up. Another Stanford item, Gloria, composed for the
Coronation of George V, raised the roof in its panoply of sound for full choir and orchestra, as
did Parry’s Coronation Anthem I was glad. Anna Dennis shone yet again in the Stanford.
The choir displayed their ability to sing softly in Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine with the
orchestra providing a lovely cushion of sound. All credit to the orchestra: the playing was
magnificent throughout the concert and their rendition of Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to
Music (in its orchestral version) was beautifully handled. The leader, James Toll, delivered his
solos with a singing, sweet tone and the wind and brass blended superbly. Sarah Baldock’s
first concert with the Music Club was definitely a resounding success.”
New members welcome!
There are vacancies for singers in all voice sections. Potential new members are invited to come to the first two rehearsals this term.
All you need is the ability to be able to follow the score and sing the notes: sight reading is an advantage but not necessary. Click here for more details.
Rehearsals start at 7.30pm on Friday 13th January with our Musical Director, Sarah Baldock, in St Michael’s Church, known as Michlã, (adjacent to Winchester College Music School).
This term we will be preparing for our concert in New Hall on Saturday 1st April. Click here for more details of the concert.
New Musical Director Sarah Baldock
We are very pleased to announce that Sarah Baldock has agreed to become our Musical Director from September 2022.