Both concerts cancelled due to coronavirus

Romsey Abbey
Saturday 9th May 2020 7.30pm

by kind permission of the Vicar and in association with Music in Romsey

Conductor: David Burgess

Soloists: Helen Bailey (sop), Philippa Boyle (sop), John Findon (tenor), Andrew de Silva (bass). 

Choirs: Botley Choral Society, Overton Choral Society, Twyford Singers

Orchestra: Festival Orchestra
Leader: Elizabeth Flower

Mozart – Mass in C Minor
Handel – O Praise the Lord with one consent

Tickets: £27, £21 and £17 (half price for those in full time education) available through WCMF choirs or online at

Handel – O praise the Lord with one consent
The texts of O praise the Lord with one consent are taken from Psalms 135, 117 and 148.  There is no opening sinfonia, but the first chorus has a long introduction by way of compensation.  The theme resembles the first phrase of the tune ‘St Anne’, first printed in England in 1708 and now best known as the tune for Isaac Watts’ hymn ‘O God, our help in ages past’.  it also appears in J. S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E flat, known as the ‘St. Anne’.  Three vocal solos follow, each providing a contrast in mood, and then a chorus ‘With cheerful notes’ suggests voices rising to heaven through Handel’s use of diminuendi.  A bass solo follows and the work ends with a final pair of choruses, concluding with an exciting triumphant peal of Alleluia.
Mozart – Mass in C minor (Great Mass)
The work was composed during 1782/1783.  In a letter to his father, Leopold, dated 4 January 1783, Mozart mentioned a vow he had made to write a Mass when he would bring his then fiancée, Constanze, as his wife to Salzburg to meet his family for the first time after his father’s earlier opposition.  Constanze then sang the ‘Et incarnates est’ at its premiere, which took place in Salzburg on 26 October 1783.  The performance consisted of the Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus as the work is incomplete.  This has caused a good deal of speculation over the years!  Given the necessity of a complete text for liturgical use, it is likely that Mozart used movements from previously written masses for the premier.  Various editors have completed the remaining sections, and the work remains one of Mozart’s most popular choral pieces.

Winchester Cathedral
Saturday 16th May 2020 7.30pm

by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter

Conductor: John Sutton

Soloists: Helen Bailey (sop), Fiona Mackay(contralto), Alexander James Edwards (tenor), Michael Druiett (bass)

Choirs: Compton & Shawford Festival Choir, Itchen Valley Choir, Sarisbury Choral Society, Winchester City Festival Choir

Orchestra: Festival Orchestra
Leader: Elizabeth Flower

Verdi: Requiem

Tickets: £32, £24, £18 and £12 (half price for those in full time education) available through WCMF choirs or from Winchester Cathedral Box Office: 01962 857275, email or visit

Requiem – Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901)
When Rossini died in 1868, Verdi proposed that a Requiem should be written in honour of the great man. Thirteen leading Italian composers, including himself, would each be invited to contribute a movement. Somewhat predictably, initial enthusiasm for the idea soon gave way to all sorts of professional rivalries, and when it also became clear that the piece would be little more than an unconvincing pot-pourri, the scheme had to be abandoned.
In 1873 the Italian poet, novelist and national hero Alessandro Manzoni died. Verdi had been a lifelong admirer and was deeply affected by his death. He decided to write a Requiem in Manzoni’s memory, and began by re-working the Libera me which he had composed five years earlier for the ill-fated Rossini project. Though it is Verdi’s only large-scalework not intended for the stage, the Requiem is unashamedly theatrical in style, with passages of great tenderness and simplicity contrasting with intensely dramatic sections. Writing at the time, the eminent conductor and pianist Hans von Bülow aptly described it as ‘Verdi’s latest opera, in church vestments’
The first performance of the Messa di Requiem was on 22nd May 1874, the first anniversary of Manzoni’s death, in St. Mark’s Church, Milan. Its British premiere took place in May 1875 at the Albert Hall, conducted by Verdi himself, with a chorus of over 1000 and an orchestra of 140. One journalist described the work as ‘the most beautiful music for the church that has been produced since the Requiem of Mozart’. However, a minority found it offensive that Verdi, an agnostic, should be writing a Requiem. Today this difference between traditional sacred music and Verdi’s operatic treatment of the Requiem text no longer presents a problem.
Few choral works have captured the public imagination in the way that Verdi’s Requiem has. The uncomplicated directness of his style, his soaring, lyrical melodies which lie perfectly for the human voice, the scintillating orchestration and, most significantly, the work’s extraordinary dramatic and emotional intensity, all contribute to the Requiem’s status as one of the great icons of Western music.