St Paul’s Anglican Church, La Trobe Terrace, Geelong
Musical Director: Douglas Lawrence
Presented by Music at the Basilica
At first it may seem a misnomer to title this divers program of choral music ‘romantic’. However, the romanticism of this concert lies in the sense that each work evokes its own atmosphere and each demands the listener to feel a strong emotional response. If that was the aim of this program, then it was supremely successful.
A change of venue worked to the advantage of both choir and audience. St Paul’s Geelong has perfect acoustics for singers. Music at the Basilica was rewarded in this change by a good-sized audience, who clearly appreciated not only the acoustics but also the warmth and comfortable seating.
The music ranged from Brahm’s substantial motet Warum is das licht gegeben dem mühseligen? to madrigals of love and loss by Monteverdi to works by Samuel Barber and Edward Elgar, modern Australian music by Anne Boyd, Alan Holley and Brenton Broadstock and concluded with Trois Chansons by Maurice Ravel. Joseph Rheinberger’s gentle Abenleid provided a most fitting encore.
This ensemble goes far beyond technical expertise. Douglas Lawrence has melded the Australian Chamber Choir into a perfectly honed instrument of musical perfection. There is not a voice out of place. The depth of talent in the choir was demonstrated by the two finely matched quintets who performed two of the three Monteverdi madrigals Lasciatemi morire and Si, ch’io vorrei morire and the selection of soloists, including the impeccable singing of soprano Elspeth Bowden in Barber’s taxing Agnus Dei, and the quartet of fine soloists in Maurice Ravel’s Quatre Chansons. Of special note was the shimmering intensity of Anne Boyd’s As I crossed a bridge of dreams, composed in 1975.
If you missed TRUE ROMANTICS, the Melbourne performance was recorded by ABC Classic FM and presented as part of Evenings on 3rd August. You can listen to this recording at http://www.abc.net.au/classic/evenings/australian-chamber-choir-true-romantics/9833258.
Review of True Romantics Melbourne performance by Julie McErlain at https://www.classicmelbourne.com.au/reviews/acc-true-romantics/
Geelong audiences will once again have the opportunity to hear the Australian Chamber Choir in their final program for 2018, A BAROQUE CHRISTMAS, to be presented on Sunday 2nd December at 3pm, at the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels.