The program’s most challenging music, a terse but harmonically grinding Miserere extracted from Penderecki’s  St. Luke Passion, enjoyed a lucid reading from the 17-strong ensemble, who handled its pungent intervallic clashes with controlled vigour, the emotional aura of regret and sorrow coming across with singular success.

Australian Chamber Choir

Reviewed by Clive O’Connell - July 3, 2012

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Middle Park
July 1

MUCH of the music sung by the Australian Chamber Choir on Sunday afternoon could have graced an old-time funeral where the emphasis fell on grief and loss rather than today’s life-celebration and thanksgiving. The program’s most challenging music, a terse but harmonically grinding Miserere extracted from Penderecki’s  St. Luke Passion, enjoyed a lucid reading from the 17-strong ensemble, who handled its pungent intervallic clashes with controlled vigour, the emotional aura of regret and sorrow coming across with singular success.

Director Douglas Lawrence later took his charges through one of their party pieces, the Allegri Miserere, with soprano Nina Wellington once again negotiating the famous ultra-exposed top Cs without a tremor;  a stolidity of metre was the only drawback to an exemplary demonstration of dynamic balance and well maintained security of intonation.

Some of Mendelssohn’s Op.79 motets for double chorus relieved the prevailing tone of mourning with an ongoing lucidity from the body’s soprano and alto lines, later displayed to even finer effect in a jaunty Regina coeli for female voices by Brahms. Still, Lawrence and his choir presented a wide complex of solemnities, from Morley’s Out of the deep to ACC-member Stephen Hodgson’s challenging Lamentations, the program’s transit also taking in Brenton Broadstock’s I Had a Dream  of 2004: a moving tribute to that most personable and gifted of Melbourne composers, Michael Easton. In everything essayed during this centred if brief program, the singers, including an admirably forward phalanx of tenors, showed a compelling zeal and freshness in their work.

Clive O’Connel: on MISERERE in The Age, Melbourne, September 23, 2012

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