Barr Smith Library Reading Room, Thu Mar 12
16 Candles celebrates the sixteenth anniversary of the Lumina Vocal Ensemble, a choral group that specialises in medieval and renaissance music. The program was created around the theme of light and much of it featured music from the 16th century. It was elegantly set in the beautiful Barr Smith Reading Room at Adelaide University (a room I’d only ever previously entered to read and write essays!) And that I confess was a motive for attending this event – to experience a charming space in a new light, albeit a dim light in this case!
I know little of medieval choral music. I have always been moved and fascinated by the unearthly sound of plainsong, the liturgical chanting of the early church. The program began there with a piece from the early medieval period, and then featured music that showed how it changed after early plainsong, adding layers of polyphonic harmony as it developed. But it all still sounds liturgical – music of devotion and peace. Dreamy and ethereal.
The second part of the program featured more modern works. These felt more expansive, less controlled and less complex in arrangement, and were indeed easier for the modern ear to appreciate.
What I especially enjoyed about this performance was the sheer joy of hearing men and women’s voices singing together in perfect partnership – as a species we are capable of making extraordinarily beautiful sounds!
For the record, the candles contributed very little to the atmosphere. The ambient light from outside the room had more effect on the lighting. The candles did provide a comforting symbolism though.
16 Candles continues at the Barr Smith Library Reading Room until Sat Mar 14.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.