CHOIR TRANSPORTS AUDIENCE - The Coast Reporter July 14, 2006
The Adelaide Chamber Singers would be a fine example of a truly great performance choir even if they had not earned top marks and been voted the best choir overall at the recent Kathaumixw choral festival held in Powell River.
The fact that they also presented a repertoire that included contemporary Australian music was a bonus. Who knew that such a delightful range of songs existed down under?
To the surprise of many in the full house at St. Hilda's Church last Sunday evening, the 15-member choir opened with Waltzing Matilda , instead of the expected sacred music. They sang with great aplomb; never has that jumbuck been more securely stowed in a tuckerbag as in this precisely enunciated rendition.
The choir, who have been described as "impeccably controlled" by the Australian press, dipped into their sacred repertoire to produce four motets, musical compositions intended for church service and drawn from a Gregorian chant by Maurice Durufle. Their voices rose magnificently in a powerful Russian sacred choral piece Bogoroditse Devo, by Rachmaninov and in Duo Seraphim by the Spanish composer Francesco Guerrero.
The choir took advantage of the great accoustics of St. Hilda's to present a wonderful vocal challenge reminiscent of the wilderness music of Canadian Composer R. Murray Schaefer. In this Australian piece call Uluru (from Great Southern Spirits) the performers incorporate the sounds of the bush, the birds, the animals and the wind into the song.
"Close your eyes" said choir director Carl Crossin, "and I guarantee we'll take you to Australia."
Another piece by the Australian composer Graeme Koehne was an updated Broadway stryle treatment of an In paradisum from the Mass for the Middle Aged in which the singers delivered a breezy and light hearted description of heaven.
Founded in 1985, the ensemble comprises some of Adelaide's best singers, some of whom are also soloists and/or conductors in their own right. They sing with precision and beauty.
Hopefully, this visit organized as part of the Kathaumixw Festival touring program and hosted locally by the Coast Recital Society, will not be their last.
Thank you, cobbers.
- Jan Degrass, Arts & Entertainment Writer