9 April 2012

Ending Easter

Three days later we were at it again: in Llewellyn Hall, with the Canberra Chorale and Bach’s St John Passion, this time with the ANU Chamber Choir and the ABC for a live broadcast to ABCFM radio. Perhaps it’s strange to hear a passion on Easter Sunday, but it’s a great work and satisfying either way. The concert started with the ANU Chamber Choir performing Arvo Pärt’s Magnificat. This was a delicate work of shimmering sopranos, high tenors, soft and swelling tones and gently moving harmonic colours. Wikipedia says it’s “divided into verse and tutti sections. The verse sections include one voice (often a soprano solo) which remains constantly on third-space C, as well as a lower, melodic line. The tutti sections make use of either three, four, or six voice parts. The soprano soloist joins in the tutti sections at times”*. Delicate and quite lovely. The rest of the concert comprised excerpts from the English version of St John Passion that I wrote up in my previous post. I found this a more confident performance than the world premiere of a few days earlier, but it was also the “best bits” with plenty of choral highlights and with an enlarged choir when the ANU singers joined in for the later passages. We spoke to Jesus (Paul Cambridge, bass) on the way out and he was obviously amused by having just a few lines, but so be it. Translator and Evangelist (the tenor who tells the story) Christopher Steele had been very impressive at the full concert and we thought even better here, more relaxed and vibrant (and less hard worked). Suffice to say, this was not the full work, and it suffered for that, but what there was was more confident and settled. This may have been just a minor reincarnation, but it was a gem.

The Oriana Chorale and Orchestra performed excerpts from the JS Bach St John Passion. The Evangelist and translator for this English version was Christopher Steele. The conductor was David Mackay. The ANU Chamber Choir was conducted by bengt-Olov Palmqvist and they performed the Arvo Pärt Magnificat.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnificat_(Pärt), viewed 8 April 2012

No comments: