In­di­vid­u­al­ity high­lighted

The Tribune (NZ) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Re­nais­sance Singers with Schola Sacra Choir. Con­duc­tors: Guy Don­ald­son and Roy Tanker­s­ley. St Peters Church – Satur­day, May 7.

The good-sized au­di­ence at St Peter’s Church were treated to an en­joy­able pro­gramme which high­lighted the in­di­vid­u­al­ity of each choir and the strong and pow­er­ful sound of the com­bined forces.

The first half opened with a bracket from Schola Sacra of Wan­ganui. This choir had a good solid sound at high dy­namic lev­els. The sound tended to be­come a lit­tle muddy dur­ing softer pas­sages, where the im­bal­ance of parts (only eight men in to­tal) be­came more ob­vi­ous.

The choir seemed to par­tic­u­larly en­joy their first piece. O Thou the Cen­tral Orb by Charles Wood, and Where Go the Mists of Morn­ing. The lat­ter piece was writ­ten by Palmer­ston North com­poser Gra­ham Par­sons as a ded­i­ca­tion to the 29 vic­tims of the Pike River min­ing dis­as­ter.

The choir used good dic­tion and the chang­ing keys of the piece to cre­ate a som­bre and re­flec­tive mood.

Re­nais­sance Singers from Palmer­ston North then took the stage. Much of their bracket was fo­cused on Shake­speare, this year be­ing the 400th an­niver­sary of the Bard’s death.

The choir had a more uni­fied sound with a bet­ter bal­ance be­tween parts.

They cov­ered an in­ter­est­ing range of reper­toire, from the warm sound and dy­namic con­trast of Blow Thou Win­ter Wind to the cheek­i­ness of Stephano’s Song and the pleas­ing light­ness of When Daisies Pied.

The sole non-Shake­speare piece, Knut Nyst­edt’s Im­mor­tal Bach, was a unique and pow­er­ful ex­plo­ration of the pos­si­bil­i­ties of a re­peated mo­tif.

The choirs com­bined dur­ing the sec­ond half. The half be­gan with two short pieces, the plead­ing Kyrie and up­beat Hodie, with the re­main­der of the half ded­i­cated to Haydn’s Missa Bre­vis (Lit­tle Or­gan Mass).

As well as Jonathan Berkahn’s or­gan, the choirs were ac­com­pa­nied by a small cham­ber en­sem­ble led by Al­lan Rae. The choirs ably cov­ered the dif­fer­ing colours in the com­po­nent parts of the mass.

Soloist Jen­nifer Lit­tle sang well in the Bene­dic­tus though her pro­jec­tion was lack­ing at some points.

A highlight was the clos­ing Agnus Dei with its con­trast­ing le­gato and stac­cato pas­sages.

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