14 April 2022


This was a student choir and I could fully expect Bach.  But the other two works were not so obvious.  But then Tobias Cole was directing so maybe not so unlikely.  The unlikely matters were firstly a premiere but one member, Rebecca Hilliard.  Not every concert has a premiere and this was a very satisfying one, putting the words of a friend, Silvia Canton Rondoni, to music.  And it was very good with clear harmonies leading to dissonant extensions so tension then release.  Pleasing and interesting.  Secondly, an improv.  Now that is unexpected at a classical concert, especially when you are asked, as audience, to join in, if you wish.  No-one much did but the choir was lovely, testing, creative, first in voice and long notes then leading into clicks and whistles.  Wow.  The major work of the day was advertised and expected enough (being JS Bach himself) and mightily difficult.  Jesu, meine Freude BWV227, a good half hour of unaccompanied voice with text from Johann Franck and Romans, with parts soprano 1,2, alto, tenor, bass and rich and moving harmony and occasional fugue.  Difficult but Bach is always a work of genius and pleasure and challenge and they did it well.  So both unexpected and a pleasure.  That's to be expected from Tobias and a bunch of students.  A great pleasure.

ANU Chamber Choir performed Hilliard, an improvisation and Bach at Wesley under Tobias Cole (director).  The work by Rebecca Hilliard (composer, alto) was Even if for a short time, with text by poet Silvia Canton Rondoni, was a premiere.

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