Magnificent! Transporting! Phenomenal!

imageA Concert for the deceased Brother
Australian Chamber Choir from Melbourne inspires
By Edgar Rohmert

WANGEN – Magnificent! Transporting! Phenomenal! The many listeners at the Summer Concert on Wednesday night in the Martinskirche were totally captivated by the marvellous sounds conjured by the Australian Chamber Choir from Melbourne. The trained voices of 20 singers delivered a performance that was mystically delicate and powerful at the same time. Choirmaster Douglas Lawrence dedicated the concert to his younger brother, who had passed away suddenly on the eve of the concert while on holidays in the Maldives. At the end there were several minutes of standing ovation.

Lawrence opened the concert with an extra work in memory of his late brother. It was almost like a requiem, which then struck a musical bridge to the Mass in G Minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were embedded in sacred monastic tones that ascended like a prayer to heaven, touching the soul deeply. The bell-bright voices of the soprano and alto alternated with the powerful vibrating sounds of tenor and bass. Stemming from the cutting edge of the Renaissance, the Magnificat by Giovanni Gabrieli was sublime and beautiful. Next to Kakadu Man by Tom Henry, Kondalilla by Stephen Leek was an even more surprising highlight. Kakadu Man conjured up the ancient wisdom of indigenous Australians: the birth and death of man as a return journey back to Mother Earth. This was offset by Kondalilla: with the singers dispersed around the church, the listeners found themselves in a primeval forrest, surrounded by the tremendous sound of rare birds. The singers from Australia are indeed rare birds.

Sacred dignity shone through the Choral Dorien of Jehan Alain. When one singer fainted, the others calmly maintained their focus. Songs and hymns can be as healing balm in adverse situations. Spirituality also shone through in the Bach Motet Der Geist hilft Unser Schwachheit auf. At the end, as encores, there were African American Spirituals such as Steal away and My soul’s been anchored in the Lord. One listener declared on the way out “If I didn’t believe in God before now, I would after hearing that program”. Nothing could serve as a greater compliment to the young singers from Melbourne.

Read the original in German

Schwäbische Zeitung, July 17, 2015

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