Cold, acous­tics test con­sort

Otago Daily Times - - DUNEDIN - North­ern Lights South­ern Con­sort of Voices St Paul’s Cathe­dral Sun­day, Septem­ber 6

SOUTH­ERN Con­sort per­formed in St Paul's Cathe­dral yes­ter­day, to a Covid Level 2 ca­pac­ity au­di­ence, with a chal­leng­ing pro­gramme of sa­cred and sec­u­lar choral reper­toire of Scan­di­na­vian and Baltic ori­gins.

Yes­ter­day's recital was not of the usual high stan­dard achieved from this group, di­rected by Daniel Kelly, who con­trols a very dis­ci­plined choir, ded­i­cated to achiev­ing qual­ity themed recitals of var­i­ous unusual and some­times un­fa­mil­iar reper­toire.

It was very cold in the cathe­dral, the choir had prac­tised so­cial dis­tanc­ing in the weeks of prepa­ra­tion, and also yes­ter­day a vast empty space be­hind them, due to post­fire ren­o­va­tions, al­tered the acous­tics.

How­ever, there were mo­ments of ex­cel­lence in the pro­gramme.

The first four works were con­tem­po­rary set­tings of an­cient Latin texts, my favourite be­ing Ave Maria by con­tem­po­rary Pol­ish com­poser Lukaszewsk­i (1968), and there was choral beauty in a prayer to Mary from Ves­pers, the Rus­sian Or­tho­dox all­night vigil cer­e­mony by Rach­mani­noff.

Guest artists Catgut and Steel (Anna Bowen, fid­dle and Mike Moroney, gui­tar) pre­sented a se­lec­tion of lively Scan­di­na­vian folk tunes as an in­ter­lude.

Swedish com­poser Fredrik Six­ten (1962­) based his Peace on John 14:27, ded­i­cated to the vic­tims of the Nor­we­gian mas­sacre of July 22, 2011, and the med­i­ta­tive dis­so­nance was de­liv­ered with emo­tion.

Carl Neilsen's choral ar­range­ment of Saenk kun dit hoved, du blomst is based on a haunt­ing lul­laby for solo voice and pi­ano, and its per­for­mance was def­i­nitely a high­light.

Je­sus gjor meg stille, ar­ranged by Grete Ped­er­sen and Son­dre Brat­land, a Nor­we­gian folk melody in canon style, opened with strong uni­son, and Es ist ein Ros entsprun­gen by Michael Prae­to­rius (1571­1621), ar­ranged by Jan Sand­strom (1977­), was a slow­mov­ing Ger­man Christ­mas carol with well­bal­anced har­monic warmth un­der­pin­ning the solo lines.

The fi­nal three con­tem­po­rary items were brighter in char­ac­ter and ac­com­pa­nied by solo fid­dle. A Lutheran met­ri­cal psalm Je­sus, din sote foren­ing a smake, ar­ranged by Knut Nyst­edt, a wed­ding march from Nor­way Brure­marsj fra Va­soyfjord/Aure by Hen­ning Som­merro who has writ­ten mu­sic for more than 140 film and the­atre pro­duc­tions, and a tra­di­tional and en­er­getic dance tune Gropen (Larsen) ended the recital with full­toned vi­brant strength.

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