Presented by Adelaide Chamber Singers
Reviewed 9 March 2018
What a feast of glorious music in the wonderful setting of St Peter’s Cathedral. Somehow the singing was infused with something extra special as it was so late at night.
The notes for the performance speak of ‘a gossamer thread’ linking the music across hundreds of years and it was in evidence throughout their soaring performance. I regret I don’t have the musical knowledge or vocabulary to properly describe the shifts and developments of choral music over the centuries.
It will have to be sufficient to say the singers moved seamlessly from William Byrd’s Kyrie written in the 1590s into Roxanna Panufnik’s response Kyrie After Byrd composed some four hundred plus years later which seemed to reprise and expand on the original.
The linking of Mille Regretz by Josquin des Perez with Kyrie (from Missa Mille Regretz) by Cristóbal de Morales shows how popular songs of love and regret were often used as the basis for sacred music in 16th century Europe. The choir pursues this link even further through the beautiful piece Messe Sans Regretz by Sydney composer Brooke Shelley.
This linkage serves to remind us, as Artistic Director Carl Crossin notes, the artistic merit of music is not defined by when it was written but by its emotional impact and expressive potential: ‘that indefinable and magical quality’ (page 4 of program).
My favourite piece in the concert was Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine by Eric Whitacre. Although a contemporary piece it draws on the musical heritage of the Italian madrigal and is sung in both Italian and English – again we see/hear that gossamer thread. The harmonies which swoop, come together, then move apart make this a delight as is the percussive accompaniment.
For the finale, the singers moved into six distinct groups in the side aisles. The music gave me goosebumps as the prolonged notes of Immortal Bach by Knut Nystedt echoed, overlapped and then faded around the cathedral. The enjoyment of the audience was clear from the loud and sustained applause for these wonderful singers and their conductor.
A performance not to be missed.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Venue: St Peter’s Cathedral, North Adelaide
Season: Sunday 11 March 10pm
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: $59, Conc $49