This excellent choral concert ended with a standing ovation.
Music from the Other End of the World
Chamber Choir in the Remigius-kirche
By Verena Düren
Music connects – this is shown by the connection that has existed for years between Bonn Cathedral Music and the Australian Chamber Choir under the direction of Douglas Lawrence. This choir maintains a lively exchange with (Bonn) Regional Director of Music, Markus Karas. A delightful outcome is that the Australian Chamber Choir shows up in Bonn every two years as part of its European tour, with this year’s performance outsourced to the Remigius-kirche.
The choir is not only recognised for its outstanding interpretations of a-cappella choral music from all periods, but also for its interpretations of contemporary works by Australian composers. Thus the concert opened with “This Earth” from Kakadu Man by Tom Henry. The choir convinced and proved itself with its effortless interpretation of modern choral music.
Delving far back into music history, the program continued with works by Josquin des Prez and – allegedly – the English King, Henry VIII. Making up for his failure with wives, Henry showed himself to be an exemplary composer in Gentil Prince. This was delivered in a musically sensitive setting by solo singers from the choir.
Crux Fidelis and Heu me Domino by Vicente Lusitano added further rarities to the program. An exciting insight into the choral music of the 16th and early 17th centuries with several new discoveries, perfectly implemented.
Before the Australian Chamber Choir took a leap into the 19th century, we heard an entirely new work premiered this year: Time Passages, by the Australian Alan Holley. In a very refined work that opened with a pulsing drone, many small groups of voices effortlessly realised lines that wound in complex chromaticism.
With the following songs for mens’ voices by Ludwig van Beethoven, the reverberant acoustic of the church muddied the sound and rendered the music difficult to understand. A real highlight against this was Mendelssohn’s Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen, as also Debussy’s Three Songs of Charles d’Orleans, with an outstanding soloist (Amelia Jones) in the second song.
Finally, a direct juxtaposition of new and old music with Messiaen’s O sacrum convivium and Bach’s Motet, Lobet den Herrn. This excellent choral concert ended with a standing ovation.