Fauré in Winchester

Undergraduate singer and pianist Anna Stonehouse tells us about recording in Winchester cathedral for an upcoming Easter season broadcast by BBC 2:

On Tuesday 25th March I took part in the ‘Passiontide Concert’,  singing Faure’s Requiem with the outstanding Winchester Waynflete Singers, teamed with the BBC Concert Orchestra. Recorded by BBC Radio 2, the concert will be aired on Good Friday, 18 April at 8pm.

The opportunity came through via Professor David Owen Norris, Head of Keyboard and Percussion studies at Southampton University, who has established a link with the Waynflete Singers allowing students from Southampton University to take part.

In the weeks leading up to the recording, a handful of Southampton students and I attended rehearsals with the Waynflete Singers at The Pilgrim’s School in the Cathedral Close, Winchester. This is an all boy’s preparatory school, which has been teaching boy choristers since the seventh century.

Recording day rehearsal at Winchester cathedral

On the recording day, singing in Winchester Cathedral was one of the most beautiful and memorable moments of my life. The orchestra sounded magical in the cathedral, and the organ resounded throughout the historic building, creating the most wonderful atmosphere.

I had taken part in last year’s Christmas concert with the Waynfletes, singing in the cathedral as well, but when the opportunity came up to be on a BBC Radio 2 recording, I had to take it up!

I found it very fulfilling singing with a huge choir run by Andrew Lumsden. He certainly knows how to get the best sound from all the musicians, and produce a fantastic ensemble sound.

During the recording, BBC Radio 2’s Diane Louise Jordan provided informative and insightful views on the music, and actor Stephen Tompkinson (best known on television as DCI Banks and Danny Trevanion) delivered several powerful readings.  I must admit I was rather star-struck when he came on stage as I was waiting to sing!

I thank David Owen Norris for providing this memorable opportunity, The Waynflete Singers for allowing us to take part and sing with them, and all the BBC musicians and radio crew for creating a wonderful experience that I will never forget.

If you would like to hear the recording, listen to radio 2 on Good Friday at 8pm. The programme is called ‘At the foot of the Cross’.

Anna (right) and friends after the concert