The Australian Chamber Choir: small in number but great in voice, sensitive and vocally perfect. …

Conductor Douglas Lawrence has created an ensemble that sings with utmost precision and utmost sensitivity, possessing a perfectly balanced choral sound. …

Already the first piece “Selig sind die Toten” (Blessed are the Dead) by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) hovered weightlessly in the space of the nave, wholly in the spirit of the text. “Factum est silentium” by Richard Dering (1585-1672) worked a dense polyphony into a perfectly-weighted structure, in which the voices swung to and fro like bells.

Choir sound is perfectly balanced

Photo Caption: The Australian Chamber Choir: small in number but great in voice, sensitive and vocally perfect. Such was the audience’s experience on Wednesday.

WANGEN/jr The Australian Chamber Choir from Melbourne contributed an aural and musical richness to The International Summer Concert Series 2011.

Conductor Douglas Lawrence has created an ensemble that sings with utmost precision and utmost sensitivity, possessing a perfectly balanced choral sound.

Already the first piece “Selig sind die Toten” (Blessed are the Dead) by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) hovered weightlessly in the space of the nave, wholly in the spirit of the text. “Factum est silentium” by Richard Dering (1585-1672) worked a dense polyphony into a perfectly-weighted structure, in which the voices swung to and fro like bells.

William Byrd (1543-1625) set his “Ave verum corpus” very simply and yet economized his means to achieve the maximum impact. Text and music were closely interlocked. Johann Sebastian Bach created a similar interaction in his Motet: “Jesu, meine Freude”: a richly coloured rhetoric achieved solely through the possibilities of the human voice.

The excitement arose from the juxtaposition of the grand with the intimate. The choir compressed the sound and then spread it out again, mastering both the articulation of the text and the glistening harmony. The design was perfect to the smallest detail; every note was controlled and consciously focused and that was the prerequisite for perfect expression and a perfect interpretation.

Giovanni Gabrieli’s (15578-1612) Jubilate Deo constructed a magnificent cathedral sound within which the text formed a series of inter-connected columns. Very intense and very modern but at the same time very sensitive, Philip Nunn (1968 -) based his composition on Margret Craven’s novel I heard the Owl call my name. In the first part the male voices traveled between murmuring, chanting and sombre chorale, while the female voices superimposed piercing vocal effects. The second part used (organ-like) mixtures growing in intensity and creating an archaic sound representative of finality and death, with which the work deals.

A tired waltz linked to the concluding section of vibrating clusters and imitation of animal sounds. The piece is not calculated to provoke. It is rather a very accurate and sensitive mood picture, in its diversity manifesting great beauty and power.

In his “Magnificat” Charles Villiers Standford (1825-1924) combined the tonal ideals of the renaissance with the spirit of the late romantics. Powerful tones and tender whispers were embedded in the magnificent interplay of two choirs. Drama and peace alternated resulting in a first class tonal experience, in which excellence and vivacity were intimately linked.

translation: Hans Schroeder and Elizabeth Anderson

To read the full review in German, click on the following link: Schwaebische Zeitung Rezension

Schwäbischer Zeitung, July 11, 2011

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