This was the choir at its best – secure of entry, pure of intonation, its long phrases firmly moving forward and with excellent solo offerings in both the Sanctus and Agnus Dei.

Australian Chamber Choir salutes World War I diggers

Martin Duffy 
Published: March 23, 2015 – 2:23PM

MUSIC
SOUL OF ANZAC ★★★☆
Australian Chamber Choir

St Fidelis’s Church, Coburg
March 22
Reviewed by Martin Duffy

In this centenary year of the Gallipoli campaign many arts companies are presenting tributes to the spirit of Anzac.  Devised by artistic director Douglas Lawrence, the Australian Chamber Choir’s wide-ranging program was built around themes of service, loss, grief and remembrance representing six of the countries involved in the hostilities. Featuring music from the mid-15th century through to the present, including premieres of two new commissions, this was an engaging program where texts were frequently given as much prominence as the music.

One of over 40 masses based on the folksong L’homme arme (The Armed Man), Guillaume Dufay’s Missa is a beautiful and challenging setting melding secular and sacred forms. This was the choir at its best – secure of entry, pure of intonation, its long phrases firmly moving forward and with excellent solo offerings in both the Sanctus and Agnus Dei.  Gustav Holst’s early 20th century setting of Nunc Dimittis was beautifully contrasting for its alternate harmonic colours.

Using humming as a link and with complexity in its cadences, Brenton Broadstock’s The Soul of Anzac employs a conventional tonal language to set nostalgic texts by poets Roderic Quinn, John McCrae and Laurence Binyon.  More challenging and very successful was Luke Hutton’s Unspoken that complexly blended two famously undelivered speeches written for President Nixon and Queen Elizabeth II. The choir’s men were excellent in Ahmet Saygun’s Canakkale Folk Song and alongside timpani accompaniment in Samuel Barber’s hauntingly evocative setting of Stephen Spender’s A Stopwatch and an Ordinance Map.
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/soul-of-anzac-review-australian-chamber-choir-salutes-world-war-i-diggers-20150323-1m5ix2.html

Soul of Anzac: Review, March 22, 2015

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