22 April 2014

The Renaissance sound

Garth Wilshere

12/10/2011 11:02:00 a.m.

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Tudor Consort Renaissance Influences IV: Made in New Zealand, Director Michael Stewart, St Mary of the Angels Church, October 8, Reviewed by Garth Wilshere.
THE core of the programme, Gillian Whitehead’s Missa Brevis, had movements interspersed throughout the performance.
It is a beautifully constructed work and so true to style, while still being original, to sound authentically Renaissance. Crafted with influences of 16th century polyphony, the Consort delivered each movement with elegance, and when in unison, wonderful blend.
The other pieces were shortish and each had interest and originality.
David Farquhar’s setting of a 14th century text Winter Wakeneth all my Care was attractive and nicely done and two songs from John Ritchie’s short cycle Canary Wine – “Queene and Huntress and Make Room for the Bouncing Belly showed interesting style and quirky humour, showcasing the women’s voices.
With baritone soloist Ken Ryan singing in English and Maori, Douglas Mews’ The Love Song of Rangipouri with excellent choral support was moving and beautifully subtle.
Choir member Anna Griffiths’ setting of a James K Baxter poem Naseby fitted nicely into the tone of the progamme.
The two new commissions, which used an ancient piece of music as their starting point, were stunningly realised.
Ross Harris in his Vobiscum in Aeternum based on a Tudor motet If ye love me was clever, ethereal and exquisitely beautiful.
Jack Body took as his source a 17th century Russian chant Strochny: Bogospod’i Yavisya which the consort sang before his Psalm 137, a setting in the original Hebrew. Each of these new works is a great addition to our choral repertoire, and each was lucky to have the excellence of Tudor Consort to realise their pieces so brilliantly.
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