For much of the past year Portsmouth Choral Union has been holding weekly Zoom rehearsals, with a few live practices just before Christmas.
For their final session before the Easter Break, a lively and informative ‘Covid Island Discs’ interview was held with the choir’s former conductor Jonathan Willcocks as the castaway, and current conductor, David Gostick, as a remarkably convincing Roy Plomley.
This was both light-hearted and informative, and was much enjoyed by the many choir members, and guests, that tuned in to watch. We were treated to a number of photos of Jonathan in various guises, including ‘as a choir boy’ and ‘sporting a luxurious beard’ (though not in the same picture!).
I’m sure I wasn’t the only member of the choir to be amused by Jonathan recounting his experience of recording Allegri’s Miserere as a boy chorister at King’s College Cambridge – all the choir boys fresh from the sports field and dressed in football kit, complete with boots and dirty knees!
Jonathan’s eight discs were as follows:
1) Allegri: Miserere
2) Faure: Requiem – Agnus Dei
3) Bach: St. Matthew Passion – Alto Aria ‘Erbarme dich’
4) Trad: What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor – arr. Willcocks
5) Mozart: Exultate Jubilate – ‘Alleluia’
6) Elgar: Dream of Gerontius – Angel’s Farewell
7) Gershwin: Lady be Good (Stephan Grapelli / Django Reinhardt)
8) Willcocks: A Great and Glorious Victory
If there were only one recording to take to the desert island, it would be the Bach.
Chosen book(s): The complete works of Dickens.
Luxury item: A sand wedge and a large number of golf balls.