[Music – SA]
St John’s Anglican Church
Sun 21 May
The concert began with joyous exuberance, a sixteenth century song by William Bird (Gaudeamus Omnes in Domino) calling us to rejoice. We did, and so did the singers, who from the first note were obviously having a great time. Highlights of bell-like soprano notes helped the music soar. Before a second a capella song (Ave Verum Corpus) by the same composer, the choir made the first of a number of physical rearrangements, and this time soaring tenor parts provided a different route to the ethereal. Translations of these texts in a well-designed program helped comprehension for those not familiar with Latin.
The next song (Wedding Chorus) stayed in the sixteenth century for its English lyrics by Ben Johnson, but the music by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) added a more modern piano accompaniment (played by Josh van Konkelenberg) and demonstrated again that beautiful words and beautiful music can last for a very long time. The piece tested the discipline and the breadth of style of the choir, and they did not falter.
The centrepiece of the performance was Arvo Pärt’s ‘Da Pacem Domine’ (Give Peace Lord). Despite its Latin text, it was written after the 2004 Madrid train bombings. The choir moved back onto the altar and formed a circle, singing to each other with waves of beautiful, atonal sound. If you don’t know this exquisite piece, seek it out. Hypnotic, inspiring, it may bring tears to your eyes. This performance certainly did – and perhaps more than any other pieces highlighted this group’s vocal skills.
For those aware of the remarkable vocal talents of the Adelaide Chamber Singers, this concert of their ‘second auditioned ensemble’ underscores how they achieved their status as one of Australia’s finest chamber choirs. The legendary Carl Crossin formed the ‘original’ Adelaide Chamber Singers (ACS) in 1985 and was key to their development in the ensuring decades. Stepping back from the role of musical director and conductor in 2022, Crossin took on the task of developing ACS², an ensemble designed to provide succession pathways for the ACS. Well known for his ability to achieve great things with generations of young singers, Crossin has once again taken a group of skilled musicians and moulded them into a disciplined and inspiring ensemble.
The last of the more modern songs on the program: ‘Ballade to the Moon’, ‘i carry your heart with me’, ‘Across the Dark’ and ‘His Eye Is On The Sparrow’, provided four more opportunities for this choir to show how good they were, and what a good time they were having.
This was the final performance of Us. Behold the Wonder, will be performed (and livestreamed) on June 30 at St Peter’s Cathedral; on July 1 (Art Gallery of SA) and on July 2 (UKARIA Cultural Centre). Buy tickets for these upcoming shows HERE.