Sing Joyfully unto God Wm Byrd
Cantate Dominum Monteverdi
Straighten Up and Fly Right Nat King Cole
Fever Peggy Lee
Free as a Bird Beatles
Plainchant Borogoditse Rachmaninov
Jubilate Deo Gabrielli
The Lamb Tavener
Il est Belle est Bonne Passereau
Me and My Shadow Jolson
Mrs Robinson Simon Garfunkel
James Bond Mash Barry
Don't Mean a thing if it ain't got that swing Ellington
Encore Opera Mash
The British vocal ensemble, Voces8 arrived at Christchurch Cathedral, Waterford last night hotfoot from a headline gala concert at Cork Choral Festival. This was enough of an imprimatur to expect something good. But they weren't just good. From start to finish, they were superb.
Beginning with British and Italian Renaissance music, the group of six men and two women, presented a diverse choral cocktail mixing cool jazz numbers with a soupçon of classy pop and a measure of 20th century minimalism all presented with a refreshing dash of theatricality. There were no programme notes (tut tut) but all pieces were clearly announced without the aid of amplification in well modulated, crisp tones by various members, a master class in how to address the audience beyond the first three rows. We loved also the interstitial moments of absolute silence after the pitch pipes had been blown. If we were forced to choose a highlight, their rendition of a Beatles number, Free as a Bird, an homage to the King's Singers was so beguiling that a general murmur of approval was audible across the pews.
Indicative of their eagerness to connect with their audience was a remark on the elegant crystal chandeliers, (the presenter said that they reminded the group of their time as choristers in Westminster Abbey), I was reminded again of the reservoir of musical expertise in the English Cathedral Choral tradition. Following the concert, the octet moved from the platform to the front of the house to meet and greet.. I left the cathedral to the sound of lively chatter as each of the eight had scattered and been subsumed by listeners. A trip to their summer school in South West England is not too far away and might interest some choristers. A preview of their latest recording for the Decca label is posted below.
Venue Notes Dean Jansson of Christchurch, remarked in her introduction that there were 30 choirs active in the county. With such a busy scene, one might have expected the attendance to have been fuller than it was last night for one of just two performances in Ireland by this group. It was unfortunate that one of the choirs had a concert on the evening so presumably members of the other 29 choirs were either at Cork Choral Festival or in the pews in Ballygunner to support Ad Hoc Chorale. I am on the circulation list of several musical ensembles including a choir in Waterford. I received no notification via these lists that this event was happening.
Who we met. We met tenor, Dermot Doyle of Concordia who tells me the male voice quartet, will be back in action in September. No lull in the performing schedule however for Bealtaine. Choir. Their director, Anne Woodworth tells me that they have no less than five events scheduled for May..
Related post http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2011/07/exeter-cathedral-choir-at-christchurch.html