COLAC CHORALE and BALLARAT CHORAL SOCIETY
St Mary’s Church, Colac
This delightful afternoon’s music was the first time, to my knowledge that these two choirs have collaborated. I do hope it happens again.
The first half of the program featured each choir singing it’s own selection of songs. Colac Chorale presented arrangements of four love songs by Robert Schumann, sung in English and arranged for four parts. The conductor was Johanna Latham (who incidentally played violin in the chamber orchestra for the Gloria) and accompanist Pamela Radcliffe. This group included the beautiful Ich grolle nicht translated as I Shall Not Grieve. The choir sang with clear diction, good dynamic range and showed the attention to detail of presentation that is the mark of good direction.
Ballarat Choral Society, directed by Helen Duggan, sang a bracket of nine songs with texts by Shakespeare. They ranged from two, Where the Bee Sucks and Full Fathon Five which may have been sung at performances of the plays in Shakespeare’s time, to contemporary settings of two songs from John Rutter’s song cycle When Icicles Hang. The accompanist for these was Lauren Knight, who also provided the continuo in the performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria. Several of the songs were performed by a small group from within the choir. One of these was a most interesting setting of When Daisies Pied, from Love’s Labours Lost which begins with an ostinato from the men of the group, was accomplished with aplomb and clarity. The final piece, Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind showed up some lovely unison singing from the sopranos of the choir, as showed off the sensitive pianistic skills of Lauren Knight and a lovely tone from the sopranos in the unison opening.
After a short interval, both choirs returned to the stage, along with a small chamber orchestra, to perform Gloria in D by Vivaldi, conducted once again by Helen Duggan. This opportunity allowed both choirs to sing this exciting work, something that, due to small numbers might not be possible alone.
This was a most rewarding performance, with soloists Eleanor Kerr and Lyn Broadstock (sopranos) and alto Christine Head. Of particular note were the lovely Domine Deus, for soprano, oboe and continuo. This is effectively a duet between the soprano (Eleanor Kerr) and oboe (Stephen Moschner).
Despite a couple of issues with time (perhaps due to the lack of time to rehearse as an ensemble, and the dry acoustic of St Mary’s Church), this was a most accomplished and moving performance, with the choir showing excellent light and shade, and a sense of excitement building towards the climax of the final fugue Cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris, Amen.
This performance was repeated on May 5th in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Ballarat.