San Marco at nightBOOK NOW: Sunday June 1 at 3.00pm: MACEDON – Church of the Resurrection, Mt Macedon Rd, Macedon
Sunday June 8 at 3.00pm: MELBOURNE – Our Lady of Mount Carmel216 RichardsonSt, Middle Park

San Marco, with its golden domes, dominates the city’s profile as you approach from the sea. Out of this majestic edifice has come some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring choral music ever written. The architecture of the building provides many galleries from which singers and instrumentalists can perform. But its vast interior also adds a long reverberation, so that it is difficult for singers or instrumentalists situated in different galleries to sing or play together. Adrian Willaert (1490–1562) solved the problem by writing antiphonal music, where opposing choirs would sing successive phrases, often contrasting, coming together for climactic ‘surround sound’ finales. This is a rare case of the architecture of a single building influencing the development of a new musical style.

Douglas Lawrence, as famous for his organ concerts as for his choral conducting, has played organ concerts in St Mark’s and conducted a choral concert in the piazza, with the Basilica as a magnificent backdrop. The Australian Chamber Choir will recreate some of the magic of St Mark’s, performing works by Monteverdi and Gabrieli for choirs of voices with instruments of that time.

Heinrich Schütz, possibly Gabrieli’s best-known student, was particularly fond of the rackett: This is a double-reed instrument that comes in a range of sizes. The great bass rackett is only 40cm long, but plays lower than a double bass or double bassoon. Simon Rickard plays the rackett and also plays curtals with Brock Imison. Matthew Manchester gives the ensemble a virtuoso soprano line, on cornetto. The cornetto, a hybrid brass/woodwind instrument is made from wood, covered in leather. It was the most important solo instrument of the 16th and 17th centuries.

There will be grandeur, but also ravishing intimacy. Seat yourself at the middle point, between the altar and the organ gallery, with instrumentalists to your right and singers to your left, with a quartet of magnificent soloists before you, and imagine for a moment that you are in Venice.

  • Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1633) – Domine ad adiuvandum from the Vespers of 1610
  • Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) – Was verfolgst du mich
  • Heinrich Schütz – Ist nicht Ephraim mein teurer Sohn                            
    – Freue dich des Weibes deiner Jugend
  • Claudio Monteverdi – Magnificat XIIIa from Vespers of 1610
  • Antonio Lotti (1667-1740) – Crucifixus a 10
  • Adrian Willaert (1490-1562) – Sacro fonte regenerata
  • Andrea Gabrieli (1533-85) – Fuga del nono tono
  • Giovanni Gabrieli – Jubilate Deo
  • Claudio Monteverdi – Cantate Dominum
  • Giovanni Gabrieli – In Ecclesiis

BOOK NOW: Sunday June 1 at 3.00pm: MACEDON – Church of the ResurrectionMt Macedon Rd, Macedon
Sunday June 8 at 3.00pm: MELBOURNE – Our Lady of Mount Carmel216 RichardsonSt, Middle Park

Back to the top of this page