Monday, July 28, 2014

Triple treat from Dunedin choristers

City Choir Dunedin, Columba College Choirs and Southern Sinfonia ensemble at Knox Church, Saturday 26 July 2014

A near capacity house gave full praise for excellent performances by a showcase of local talent. Three choirs, City Choir Dunedin conducted by David Burchell, and Cantus Columba and Columba Junior Madrigal Choir conducted by Richard Madden, and soloists Cathy Sim (Soprano), Calla Knudsen-Hollebon (Soprano), James Burchell (Alto), Peter Wigglesworth (Tenor), and Clinton Fung (Bass), were most ably accompanied by section leaders from the Southern Sinfonia, pianists Sandra Crawshaw and John van Buskirk and organist Simon Mace. A well-devised programme of twentieth century works brought welcome contemporary relevance.

David Hamilton’s spirituals are a successful meld of Black American and Church of England sounds. City Choir’s enjoyment of the rhythms in Whosoever Will and Walk You in the Light produced aural security. However, divided into three, they never securely conveyed the intricate diversities of Dance-Song to the Creator.

Cantus Columba presented Minoi Minoi, Schubert’s The Lord is my Shepherd and George Harrison’s Here comes the Sun. The choir is a splendid collection of pure juvenile voices and a joy to listen to.
Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb is an occasionally disjointed work, with quirky rhythms and melodic lines and some interesting word painting from the Organ. City Choir’s articulation and aesthetic interpretation was very good.

Knudsen-Hollebon’s treble solo was stunningly beautiful with good attention to the words. James Burchell’s alto solo reveals a good voice hampered by nerves and some difficulty in the lower register. Wigglesworth’s tenor voice grows in both richness and strength and Fung’s bass recitative was also good.

Rutter’s Mass of the Children was the true highlight of the evening. All performers captured its excellently composed heart-warming beauty excellently. Sim and Fung’s voices, the wind ensemble, harp, organ and percussion and the combined choirs melded perfectly and produced pure joy.


Review by Marian Poole for the ODT, 28 July 2014.

1 comment:

Leta said...

To be fair we need to mention that James was just recovering from a cold - that probably affected his voice more than just nerves. In fact City Choir lost a significant number of singers during the last week before the concert as the 'flu and colds swept through the ranks. The basses are referring to their back row as "the sick bay"!

Conceivably, with all voices on deck the "Dance-Song" would have been more secure too.

Nevertheless, in general reports are very positive and it was a most enjoyable concert for performers and audience alike.