Concert on 1 April 2023

Imagine a “Greatest hits of all time” concert of classical music. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons, the 1812 overture, Bach’s B minor mass – would they be your favourites? What would you leave out?!

The Renaissance Choir faces a similar problem with their next concert. Conductor Peter Gambie was faced with an awful dilemma: which jewels to leave out of a treasure trove of stunning pieces. Five years ago, the choir embarked on a series of the best music from the Low Countries, Spain, Italy and England, all of which have used the spine-tingling acoustic of St Peter’s, Petersfield as their backdrop. Now, the very best of these concerts has been put together for a performance on Saturday 1 April.

The music is grand, it’s spacious, it’s splendid. Written for the massive acoustic spaces of St Mark’s, Venice, Seville Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, much of the music challenges the choir by being in 8 or even 12 parts. The programme is not entirely about music, with Renaissance painters’ use of chiaroscuro (light and shade) being featured, both in sound and pictures. The choir’s sumptuously-illustrated programme features paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Velasquez, Breughel and many others as they seek to draw parallels between the two art forms.

Previous concerts have concluded with a musical knees-up. The secular sounds from 17th-century street scenes feature strongly with folk and drinking songs, accompanied by the delightful Zoe Barnett, who is bound to stun audiences with her astonishing technique as a guitarist.

Peter Gambie