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Reading Room, Barr Smith Library, Sat 24 Feb.
[MUSIC/CLASSICAL – SA]
Local vocal ensemble Lumina have teamed up with the Lyrebird Consort to present music from medieval times for this year’s Fringe. Set in the gorgeous Barr Smith Library Reading Room at Adelaide University, each set began with the players wandering around the large space loudly spruiking their wares – salt, nuts, cherries, brooms, fish – before donning the robes of nuns and monks and common folk. As choice was limited in the 12th – 14th centuries most of the music is liturgical in nature and this gives the whole event something of a reverential atmosphere but it’s the ideal space to float away to another time and appreciate these now ancient sounds.
Among the liturgical offerings there is the occasional folk song, and in these you can see a link to modern music with their more accessible melodies. The best known of them, Sumer is icumen in, is done as an infectious round.
Songs with musical accompaniment from the Lyrebird Consort were presented with fairly sparse instrumental arrangements. I enjoyed the sound of the rebec, a precursor to the violin, and the sound of duelling descant and tenor recorders was fascinating.
The last few pieces featured all singers and players together in an uplifting finale.
This concert was a reminder that the church was once associated with things of great beauty before the modern scourge of abuse soured the reputation of the Christian churches. But thankfully there are people who are still willing to dedicate their time to preserving these beautiful, haunting sounds.
A Medieval Marketplace continues at Burnside Ballroom from 4pm on Sat 3 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.