10 August 2015

A Canberra swoon

Igitur nos did an internal "Swoon vote" (a la ABC-FM): each member listed 5 songs they'd like to do, giving ~100 votes, and from this came their concert at the CGGS Chapel on Sunday. The concert was named Angel voices and what a terrific concert it was. It was a dream to hear such a good choir, doubly so in this nice venue, glassed in with views of mock-tudor and gums and Red Hill and a lovely mid-winter sunny Canberra sky and a gently reverberant acoustic. The voices were fabulous: unwaveringly steady, clearly enunciated, softly attacked, precisely pitched, revelling in harmonies, generously dynamic, closely listened and keen eyes on conductor Matthew. I was close and noticed some impressive individual voices, too, especially the sopranos clear and soaring and tenors rich and high. The program was nicely varied. Ola Gjeilo, a contemporary Norwegian, three English songs by Stanford and Elgar, three US songs, by Barber, Lauridsen and Whitacre (interestingly, the Barber and Lauridsen used words of the same James Agee poem), contemporary Australian David Basden with a Pater noster (he was present for this performance). Also a lovely Tavener called Funeral Ikos written for the Greek Orthodox rite, Howells, Rutter and two from the supreme master, JS Bach. One was a trio sonata played by two recorders and baroque pipe organ (G major, BWV1039); the other was a Cantata (BWV106) with SATB solo voices, choir, organ, cello, 2 recorders and two viole da gamba. This was the biggest and most impressive work; the Elgar and Rutter least interested me; the Basden was wonderful as a genuine local original; perhaps the Tavener or Gjeilo or Whitacre or Barber or one Stanford were my favourites. Interestingly, I'd sung two of the program with some choir or other (Stanford Blue bird and Whitacre seal lullaby) but nothing like this. This was a revelation. Truly a choir of real quality.

Igitur nos is Matthew Stuckings (director, conductor). Singers were Greta Claringbould, Meredith Norman, Meredith Boroky, Michelle Eddy, Olivia Gossip, Jane Godtschalk, Catherine Hayman, Karina Berger, Carolyn Strange, Anne Marie Delseg, Liz Keough, Karen McKenzie, Gerard Clifton, Marcus Klaiber, Paul Francis, Todd Heather, Stephen Lawton, Andrew Freeman, Jonathon Lee and David Smith. Accompanying musicians were Anne Ewing (piano), Olivia Gossip and Robyn Mellor (recorders), Rachel Walker and Alec Hunter (viola da gamba), Clara Teniswood (cello) and James Porteous (organ). Greta Claringbould (soprano), Maartje Sevenster (alto) Norman Meader (tenor) and Andrew Fysh (bass) sang the solo parts in the Bach cantata.

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