Monday, November 19, 2012

THE LLEWELLYN CHOIR: CHORAL GOLD - A TREASURY OF CHORAL MUSIC

Llewellyn Choir
Canberra Youth Orchestra
Canberra Children's Choir

Conducted by Rowan Harvey-Martin

Llewellyn Hall Saturday 17 November 2012

Reviewed by Len Power



The Llewellyn Choir’s concert program on Saturday night provided such a diverse range of music that there must have been something for everybody.


Musical director of the choir and the concert’s conductor, Rowan Harvey-Martin, brought together not only the choir, but also the Canberra Youth orchestra and the Canberra Children’s Choir.

Commencing with Purcell’s ‘The Music For The Funeral of Queen Mary’, the brass players were placed strategically in the aisles of the Llewellyn Hall.  As they moved towards the stage, you could imagine this glorious music accompanying a funeral procession.  The combination of voices and instruments in this sombre work was quite moving.

Short works by de Victoria, Palestrina and Monteverdi followed.  All were played and sung with feeling and precision.  The haunting Monteverdi work, ‘Beatus Vir’, sung by the dozen voices that made up the Semi-Choir, was particularly appealing and very well sung.

The Canberra Children’s Choir followed with five delightful works, of which ’The Moon’ by Andy Beck and ‘Chantez Alleluia’ were standouts.

Alexander Borodin’s ‘Polovetsian Dances’ from ‘Prince Igor’ demonstrated the full power of the orchestra and singers together, as did Bernstein’s ‘Chichester Psalms’.  The concert concluded with selections from Carl Orff’s ever-popular ‘Carmina Burana’.  The finale, ‘O Fortuna’, almost lifted the roof off the hall.

As an encore, we were given Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Suite From “West Side Story”’, concluding with a rousing excerpt from the song, ‘America’, which we were invited to join in and sing with the choir.

The concert was a delight from start to finish.  There was a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar works.  The conductor, Rowan Harvey-Martin, obtained excellent results from the musicians and singers and even provided a joke or two at her own expense.  Everyone involved should be congratulated on providing a memorable evening of sublime music.

Originally broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Dress Circle’ program on Sunday 18 November 2012


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