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Posts tagged: choral

Warming our hearts in mid-winter – Cantoris directed by Thomas Nikora

By , 27/07/2019
This was the kind of programme whose content and presentation couldn’t have done a better job of warming the cockles of both audience hearts and sensibilities, having already drawn our attention via the concert’s title to the evening’s delightful and characteristic seasonal ambiences. Choral items naturally enough made up the lion’s share of the presentations, but by way of contrast and variety we heard two songs for baritone with... read more

From murderous to beguiling – a concert of life and art from the Tudor Consort and Aurora IV

By , 22/06/2019
Michael Stewart and the Tudor Consort certainly got their presentation “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know” off to a properly gruesome start with the music of a composer who’s now generally known to have been a murderer, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa – in fact, we in the audience were firstly “treated” to a fairly “no holds barred” description by Michael Stewart of the circumstances and salient details of the... read more

Inspirare as singular performers of Brahms choral pieces and part songs

By , 15/06/2019
This was a concert of music by one composer only, Brahms, and does not stray from traditional classical repertoire. Yet, apart from the piano solo, Rhapsody in G minor, Op 79, No 2, and the first movement of the Violin Sonata No 3 in D minor, Op. 108, the vocal works in the programme are seldom heard. The concert opened with Vier Quartette, Op.92, sung by Alex Gandionco, soprano, Eleanor... read more

Rossini’s “Little Solemn Mass” from the Bach Choir at St.Andrew’s triumphantly reaches towards the stars

By , 11/05/2019
I was sure I’d heard this work on at least one occasion previously, and more especially once the music had started – from early on in the opening “Kyrie” there were cadences, phrases and sequences that kept on sidling up to me and nudging me in my inner ear’s ribcage as if to say “Oh, you again! – where have you been?” or more cheekily, “Remember me? – ha!... read more

Tudor Consort revives ancient Tenebrae rituals marking the stories of Holy Week

By , 19/04/2019
The number of people familiar with the word Tenebrae is probably getting fewer by the year as religious belief declines and the deep-rooted traditions, including the use of Latin, are ‘modernised’. It’s not just a Roman Catholic Easter observance but it is also in the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Western Orthodox and other churches. And since the Roman church ditched the use of Latin in normal services, the spirit of... read more

A dramatic and sharply-focused St.John Passion from Nota Bene and the Chiesa Ensemble at St Mary of the Angels

By , 14/04/2019

Of four Scriptural “Passion” settings associated in some way or another with Johann Sebastian Bach, two have been fully “authenticated”, the larger St.Matthew Passion, and the smaller, more intense and visceral St.John Passion – while two others, settings of the other evangelists’ accounts of Jesus’ death, are either spurious or recyclings of lost material. Bach undertook the St.John Passion during his first year as director of church... read more

Berlioz, and his “Lelio”, given their dues and more by Orchestra Wellington

By , 12/04/2019
My first reaction to the news that Orchestra Wellington was planning to give the New Zealand premiere of Hector Berlioz’s  Lelio, or “A return to life” in its properly-ordered place as a sequel to the well-known Symphonie Fantastique was a delightful amalgam of excitement, admiration, incredulity and skepticism regarding the idea. I knew the work from recordings, and it had long seemed to me of the order of something... read more

Cantoris, with Thomas Nikora, brings life to Faure, and Rutter to life

By , 06/04/2019
Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, with its relatively intimate, and gentle, largely non-confrontational utterances receives frequent church performance by non-professional choirs in a version with organ accompaniment (there are various other versions extant of the work, two of which are scored with varying orchestral forces, details of which are too impossibly convoluted to even comment on). I’m mentioning this circumstance because I frequently go away from such performances feeling “short-changed” as... read more

Alleluia: varied settings splendidly delivered by Inspirare and Schola Cantorum (St Mark’s School) under Mark Stamper

By , 23/03/2019
Best to start with Mark Stamper’s own description of this concert of settings of ‘Alleluia’: “fourteen unique and innovative settings of this glorious text. The selections will come from different musical periods dating back to the Baroque and on through 2019”. There can be few words or phrases that have inspired such generally positive and hopeful music, though there are other memorable phrases in the Mass. Mark Stamper’s choices were... read more

Tudor Consort opens 2019 season with Renaissance madrigals at summer concert in the sun

By , 16/02/2019
The first concert of the Tudor Consort’s year was in a different place and sang music that was different from their normal pattern. Yes, it was from the Renaissance – almost entirely composed in the 16th century, the Tudor age, and the first couple of decades of the 17th. (Purcell was the only one seriously out of place). And the music was not written for choirs or large ensembles; nor... read more

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