The modern works “Lamentations” (Hodgson), “Magnum mysterium” (Kristof) and “O sacrum convivium” (Messiaen) all portrayed a highly effective sonic magic.

Australian Chamber Choir, cond. Douglas Lawrence
Münsterkirche, Bonn

Reviewer: Mathias Nofze

BONN. — The early German settlers to Australia from Prussia or Saxony called their new home “Hochkirk” in remembrance of their heritage. Their week passed with hard work, and then on Sunday they sang hymns like “A Mighty Fortress is our God”.

This tune plays a prominent role in “Weaving Hochkirk”, along with other folk music and prayer songs, all combined by the Australian composer Andrew Batterham to create a wistfully retrospective settler’s tale. The Australian Chamber Choir, led by conductor Douglas Lawrence, gave a passionate performance of this heartfelt music in the Bonn cathedral.

The fourteen young singers demonstrated remarkable talent. The contrapuntal lines in William Byrd’s four-part mass at times floated effortlessly, at others surged forward. Meanwhile, the choir’s formidably resonant sound amazed listeners in Gibbons’ “O Clap Your Hands”.

The modern works “Lamentations” (Hodgson), “Magnum mysterium” (Kristof) and “O sacrum convivium” (Messiaen) all portrayed a highly effective sonic magic. Only in Bach’s double-choir motet “Fürchte dich nicht” did occasional shadows cloud the beauty of tone, but the two spirituals given as an encore were simply stunning.

General Anzeiger, Bonn, 11 July 2009

Mathias Nofzer in General Anzeiger, Bonn, July 11, 2009

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