Portsmouth Baroque Choir performs a wide repertoire, from the Renaissance period to works of contemporary composers, including several written especially for the choir.
Particular highlights from the past include Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat and St John Passion, and Rachmaninov’s Vespers. As a small choir we look to perform works with reduced instrumental forces, and in recent years we have performed a number of Handel Chandos Anthems, Purcell Verse and Symphony anthems and early Mozart and Haydn Masses, with a significant number of choir members sharing solo duties. Concerts are held regularly, in churches and cathedrals in Portsmouth and the surrounding district. The choir has also participated in the BBC’s ‘Sunday Half-Hour’, and performed live on local radio.
More recent concerts have included performances of music by Haydn (Salve Regina in E and Insanae et vanae curae) and Mozart (Ave Verum, Litaniae Lauretanae, Sancta Maria and Missa Brevis in D); choral works by Gerald Finzi and Zoltán Kodály; Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, with strings and harp; Haydn’s Seven Last Words and Hummel’s Mass in B flat. Handel’s Birthday Ode for Queen Anne and Vivaldi’s Gloria, Beatus Vir and Dixit Dominus were sung at a packed Waterlooville Music Festival concert in June 2017, and we repeated the programme a month later in Ryde. Our October 2017 concert marked the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a concert of polychoral music with a period instrument group of cornett and sackbut players. In December 2017 we performed two of Bach’s Cantatas including No. 61, Nun komm der Heiden Heiland. March 2018 saw a concert of music by Handel including two Chandos Anthems to commemorate 300 years since their composition and first performance. In June we returned to Waterlooville to perform Jonathan Dove’s The Passing of the Year together with Rutter’s A Sprig of Thyme, both accompanied by Karen Kingsley, with the addition of a wind quartet for the Rutter. In October we sang a programme of music by Parry including his Songs of Farewell to mark the centenary of his death, and our December concert featured Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit sur des Airs de Noël. In March 2019 at All Saints, Portsmouth we performed music from two centuries, the 18th and the late 20th: works by Bononcini and Mondonville, and Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna.