New I Voci Singers
Perth Modern School Auditorium
reviewed by Neville Cohn
In the lead-up to its first overseas concert tour, John Christmass’ New I Voci Singers presented the program they will offer audiences during their performances in Germany.
Guests of honour were the Governor of Western Australia, Lt-General John Sanderson and Mrs Sanderson as well as the German Consul in Perth, Mr William Hassell and Mrs Hassell.
Over the years, concertgoers have come to expect high levels of performance whenever the indefatigable John Christmass is at the helm – and this farewell concert was no exception.
A bracket of three Stanford motets came across as a finely stated musical triptych in which vocal lines separated and coalesced in a beautifully controlled and meaningful way. Here, and throughout the evening, the choristers drew on a deep well of expressiveness which brought freshness to familiar notes.
This was again apparent in a consistently stylish bracket of popular songs, including Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm and Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin’, fine singing enhanced time and again by Alex Roberts’ thoughtful and stylish accompaniments at the piano.
In passing: this chamber choir sings these lighter items with such verve and impeccable grasp of style that serious thought should be given to preserving the best of the choir’s efforts in the genre on compact disc.
An instrumental interlude featured Philip Murray and Alex Roberts in a pleasingly musical account of Saint Saens’ Romance for flute and piano. And Mark Alderson came up trumps in the Toreador’s Song from Bizet’s Carmen, as did Justin Freind who, as always, sounded entirely in tune (no pun intended) with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes.
The very rarely heard Gloria by Puccini was the most substantial offering of the evening with Christmass coaxing a gratifyingly unified response from his forces in both vocal and interpretative terms.
Throughout the evening, a succession of images appropriate to each work was projected on to the rear wall of the stage. These visuals did much to enhance the overall impact of the performance notwithstanding the effective blotting-out of the lower section of each image by the dark, wooden gallery that runs across the rear wall of the auditorium.
The New I Voci Singers have maintained a high profile during 2003, featuring, as they did, in ANZAC Day and Commonwealth Sunday ceremonies, two Mozart at Twilight concerts as well as the annual Best of British presentation at Perth Concert Hall.
© December 2003