Songs that shine di­vine light

The Tribune (NZ) - - OUT & ABOUT - CARLY THOMAS

The Re­nais­sance Singers are singing their way to­wards the light in an up­com­ing per­for­mance of choral mu­sic.

The pro­gramme will fea­ture five lo­cal com­posers with a theme of light, said con­duc­tor Guy Don­ald­son.

‘‘It is the 500th an­niver­sary of the Lutheran Church and there had been a re­quest for mu­sic that might re­flect that. So I started off with Bach and that set me think­ing about things that would fit around that and I came to a theme of light.’’

The Re­nais­sance Singers were formed over 40 years ago and Don­ald­son said they have al­ways been ded­i­cated to old and new mu­sic with a spe­cial­ity be­ing un­ac­com­pa­nied singing. This con­cert, he said, would be a mix­ture.

‘‘The con­cert be­gins with the com­plex­ity and in­tel­lec­tual weight of Bach and grad­u­ally light­ens in tone.’’

Lo­cal com­poser and choir mem­ber Tim Devlin has cre­ated a piece, Come Home Again, which is a cross be­tween folk and sa­cred id­ioms. His com­po­si­tion, he said, had also emerged into the light af­ter be­ing hid­den away in his drawer.

‘‘It’s a chris­tian love song, but in­stead of us singing about our love for Christ, he’s singing to us. It’s an in­ter­est­ing re­ver­sal from what you’d ex­pect.’’

Deviln said the piece would be hav­ing its con­cert pre­miere in the Re­nais­sance Singers per­for­mance and that go­ing through the process of putting it on stage had been ex­cit­ing.

‘‘It is a lovely experience. You have an idea of what it will be like but once it’s down on pa­per I don’t know any more about it than any­one else does, so it’s in­ter­est­ing to hear how peo­ple take it and what the voices do with it.’’

Con­duc­tor Kirsten Clark has com­posed a tra­di­tional Ir­ish Bless­ing, and choir pa­tron Gra­ham Par­sons, a new piece called Light to the Eye. He­len Caskie, a for­mer pa­tron of the choir, and Ju­lian Gaird­ner have also com­posed Christ­mas pieces.

Don­ald­son thought be­cause the con­cert fell six months be­fore Christ­mas, some fes­tive pieces could be in­cluded.

‘‘There will also be a cham­ber orches­tra fea­tur­ing some of the best of lo­cal mu­si­cians ac­com­pa­ny­ing four of the pieces, in­clud­ing ex­tracts from or­a­to­rio and opera.’’

The Re­nais­sance Singers’ per­for­mance will be held on Satur­day, 7.30pm, at the Cathe­dral of the Holy Spirit.

PHOTO: CARLY THOMAS/FAIR­FAX NZ

The Re­nais­sance Singers pre­pare for their up­com­ing per­for­mance.

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