Exile & Enlightenment

Subscription Concert One

Winter warmer pits wonder of cultures

RECENT works by two Australian composers took pride of place in ACS’s winter-warming program, both venturing into extra-European territory, both succeeding in putting two widely different musical cultures side-by-side and maintaining the integrity of each.

In the middle movement of Mountain Chant by Ross Edwards, the singers added to their long list of vocal versatilities with rapid, tongue and tonsil twisting repetitions of Dreaming site names celebrated by the Warrumbungle peoples.

The basses are due for special mention because their punchy, dead accurate rhythms kept the whole texture aligned.

Two beautiful outer movements, Quam Preciosa and Oratio Dominica, both in Latin, returned the music to its roots.

Paul Stanhope went even further afield. His Exile Lamentations draws on English, Hebrew and Latin – Tallis, whose 16th century model was also on the early part of the program.

Highly evocative texts – I was not one of the six million, Two Children – were set for chorus, solos and duets (David Hamer and Emma Borgas).

Interludes and accompaniments from Joseph Tawadros and his lute-like oud, redolent with Middle Eastern spices, plus Hillary Kleinig’s empathetic cello, kept the whole work securely grounded in that perennially troubled, perennially optimistic, part of the world.

Director Carl Crossin and his talented bunch are always totally involved in their work. Their engagement embraced the crowd.

The Advertiser, 19th June 2012