Lux Aeterna: Byrd, Britten, Gibbons, Elgar, Rachmaninoff, Parry, Palestrina, et al. Voces8; October 11, 2022, St. James Cathedral, Toronto.
Can hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers be fallacious? Effectively, usually, sure, however not within the case of Voces8. The British a cappella octet proved fairly worthy of all its on-line success Tuesday night on the Cathedral Church of St. James.
It was a blended program, comprising music drawn from the Renaissance and newer instances. England, in fact, loomed massive. The fast counterpoint of William Byrd’s Haec Dies was joyously negotiated, and Orlando Gibbons’s eight-voice O Clap Your Fingers made clear how sturdy these singers are each individually and as a collective.
4-on-four antiphonal motets, like Palestrina’s Magnificat primo toni, which concluded this system as printed, have been impeccably balanced. Right here and elsewhere, hairpin dynamics fended off any sense of sameness. Rolled r’s added an animating contact of percussion to Victoria’s Regina caeli.
There have been additionally extra soothing objects, resembling Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditse Devo (i.e. Ave Maria) and the Nunc Dimittis of Voces8 co-founder Paul Smith (whose alto brother Barnaby is creative director), all superbly polished. But the advantageous tooling by no means appeared valuable or undertaken for its personal sake. Three of Hubert Parry’s six Songs of Farewell (1916-18) have been rendered deeply private by clear diction and diverse phrasing. The impact was of mixed music and speech.
This system was titled Lux Aeterna, after the choral association of Elgar’s Nimrod from the Enigma Variations. Warmly applauded, this didn’t, for my part, rival the orchestral authentic in pathos, the luminous soprano of Andrea Haines however. One other large hit (with a really large crowd) was Parry’s stirring I used to be Glad, one in every of three contributions by some 4 dozen largely scholar choristers introduced collectively by Daniel Taylor and his Theatre of Early Music. Taylor performed the Parry, which began with an impressive fanfare on the organ.
The encore was Mendelssohn’s Denn er hat seinen Engeln, one other eight-part tour de pressure — if such gracious music will be so described. My very best Voces8 program would come with extra choices from Central Europe and a multi-movement work. You can’t have every part.
The singers took turns in introducing the items. Even the American tenor Blake Morgan managed to channel a British sense of humour.
There was a late begin owing to what was introduced as a flood within the restrooms. This didn’t cease Taylor from delivering an introductory tackle from the pulpit. The famous countertenor was central to the group of this live performance, which marked the Toronto debut of Voces8. Theatre of Early Music was listed because the presenter, in collaboration with Opus 3 Artists.
Because of all.
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