How great it has been to welcome virtually regular applications of reside music performances by all the performing arts again into our lives. When Australian faculties closed throughout the pandemic, college students of brass, woodwind, voice and their ensembles have been hardest hit. Rising from their lockdowns, many choirs needed to debate whether or not to carry out in public sporting masks. Brass and woodwind devices had no any alternative with that one, however have been evaded the general public eye with their forbidden music making. Instrumental soloists and small ensembles have been in a position to make their presence felt in on-line performances, however have been some music makers of their inventive secret chambers, maybe singing or taking part in their brass and woodwind devices collectively?
“Secret Chamber” is a most alluring title for the Australian Chamber Choir’s newest magical program. The indomitable Douglas Lawrence took his musical inspiration from the interval from 1570 in England, when the follow of the Catholic religion was forbidden. Illicit liturgies have been held in secret in non-public homes, permitting some main composers of the day to even be writing music for each the official Anglican ceremony in addition to for the covert Catholic ritual.
Not fairly a secret is the Loreto Chapel within the splendid historic and awe-inspiring grounds of Mandeville Corridor. On this historic place of worship, the fashionable painted white partitions of the chapel are peaceable and dignified. The vaulted area ensures a resonant and deeply felt enhanced acoustic mix, excellent for the ACC’s ten vocalists. Lawrence all the time controls the tempos sensitively with nice respect for reaching clear enunciation of texts, which may be misplaced in such a magically amplified surroundings.
Sobriety and style was felt within the William Byrd’s Mass For 5 Voices, the place a most sedate, calm and regular pulse flowed by way of this effective Renaissance polyphonic writing. In secret, the Gloria requested singers to maintained a modest and dignified expression, with out exuberance, simply quietly and completely balanced. ACC’s basses specifically added a profound depth to the word-painting of the robust Latin textual content “gratias agimus tibi propter”, whereas the ultimate “miserere nobis” confirmed the sopranos reaching out, pleading to the heavens for mercy, in a extra intense rising scale. Sanctus and Benedictus retained a mild, pure and dignified tempo, holding an excellent religious circulate, with simply the Agnus Dei easing tempo and dynamics to a soulful and sustaining shut.
Byrd’s Sing Joyfully let the ACC reveal their well-disciplined energetic and fulsome tone that crammed the Chapel so effortlessly. With the textual content “Blow the trumpet within the new moon” their voices did ring loudly sufficient to disclose the hiding place for any congregation in a secret backyard, however right now the viewers completely loved the jubilant ringing tone of this exemplary vocal ensemble. Ave Verum Corpus gave us deeply contrasting, hushed and darker tones, with only a single phrase “miserere” making a profound impact on the listener because it was repeated dramatically in every voice, lastly resolving on an impressive and shining remaining main chord. Byrd’s message to his fellow countrymen in his Vigilate was clever: “Hold Watch”. At all times attentive to the textual content, ACC expressed some fascinating vocal staccato exercise and agitation with the textual content “Hold watch…(at lifeless of night time) at cock crow, at daybreak” on this in any other case, solemn motet.
Very stunning motets adopted, permitting the viewers to be surrounded by the ACC’s enviable vocal mix and steadiness. Byrd’s eminent good friend Thomas Tallis composed the favored If ye Love Me within the mid 16th Century; right now it nonetheless sounded remarkably recent and classical with a beautiful lyrical melody. Composer Thomas Tomkins suffered by way of the English Civil Warfare and noticed cathedrals and their choirs and organs desecrated, however right now his voice was heard in a critical, intensely felt setting of I Know that my Redeemer Liveth. Sopranos added a lot color to When David heard that Absalom was slain and superbly managed weaving inside voices flowed seamlessly right into a languorous cadence. Tomkins’ longer setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis from the Second Service conjured up a mesmerising, hypnotic aura, which right now gave us a contemplative escape from our 21st Century worldly considerations.
A scholar of Byrd, Peter Philips took his Catholic allegiance to Belgium in 1597. Each his 5 voice Ascendit Deus and Ecce vicit leo, have been carried out with glorious, vibrant word-painting, the ACC expressing buoyant animation in a lighter allegretto, with a candy and silvery toned“Alleluia”. Robert White’s Christe, qui lux es et dies created a sense of medieval simplicity in a reverential setting for 5 male and two feminine voices, with the lads main in gloriously blended chant, then alternating with a robust non secular full choral response. Their spectacular tone introduced a lot appreciative applause.
Shorter gems accomplished this distinctive program: Robert White’s Christe qui lux es et dies, and Thomas Morley’s madrigals – April is in my mistress’ face, Now should I die recureless, (a lament for threesome – Kristina Lang, Oliver Crofts and Sam Rowe), and the closing rhythmic, exuberant and fairly elegant favorite, Now Is the Month of Maying. Having fun with the merriment, ACC have been delighted to offer us a reprise of this uplifting madrigal, with maestro Lawrence cheekily asking the viewers how many people sang this in our schooldays?
Julie McErlain reviewed “Secret Chamber” carried out by the Australian Chamber Choir at Mandeville Corridor, Toorak, on February 27, 2022.