Ambitious programme of music

A highly-ambitious programme for their November concert underlines the current strength and great good heart of The Chichester Singers. Musical director Jonathan Willcocks will lead them through Mozart: Requiem; and Beethoven: Symphony no.9 ‘Choral’ in Chichester Cathedral on Saturday, November 5 at 7.30pm,

as the musical highlight of the Chichester Festivities autumn programme.

Jonathan has been with the Singers for more than 30 years; the Singers have been going for 60 years; and yet this is the first time they have tackled the Beethoven.

“It’s because it is such an ambitious piece and it also such a major piece orchestrally. It’s very tough on the orchestra and very tough on the choir. It’s quite a difficult piece to programme with another choral work, but it goes perfectly with the Mozart.

“For the Beethoven, the choir only sing in the final movement. Beethoven reserves the choral forces and the four soloists for that final movement, and then he really puts them through the mincer in terms of the technical difficulty of the work. It is difficult knowing what is coming at the end!

“But I would not have programmed it if I did not think that they could do it splendidly,” says Jonathan who is delighted with recent start-of-term recruitment to the choir.

“We did well over 20 auditions, and all of them were successful. I was spared blushes! We had very strong new members coming into the choir - as good as I can remember it in terms of both quality and numbers. I think some were attracted by the programme.”

The Mozart adds to the pleasure for everyone, awareness of the Requiem heightened perhaps by the stage show and then film Amadeus, but also through the continuing success of Classic FM.

“A lot of people deride it, but I think it has brought a lot of new people to the pleasures of classical music.”

Tickets for November 5: £22, £15, £10, £7 (unreserved) from Cathedral Cloisters Shop: 01243 813595 (credit cards accepted); Wendy Whittle, 01243 572195; and also from www.chichestertickets.co.uk. The soloists are Sara Lian Owen (soprano), Angharad Lyddon (alto), Samuel Furness (tenor) and Frederick Long (bass).