Review – New Zealand International Early Music Festival

Knox Church
27 February 2015

St Kilda Brass and Da Capo Vocal Consort collaboration set the tone for the second New Zealand International Early Music Festival.

The concert, performed to an audience of modest size, opened with David Burchell’s crisp and articulate rendering of Gabrieli’s Intonazione on the church organ. Thereafter, Cantate Domino for voices and brass conveyed the jubilant Psalm 96 with control and poise. The accompanying brass quartet backed the singers sensitively.

Gabrieli’s two ensuing canzoni for brass showed keen understanding of the Venetian style, punctuated by moments of insecurity peppering the otherwise crisp texture.

Morenzio’s Caro dolce showed fine expertise from the voices; Chiaro segno amor displayed the skilled singers growing in conviction, delivering a thoroughly captivating “morte” cadence towards the close of this poignant madrigal. Susato’s three ensuing Renaissance Dances for brass were preceded by splendid, jocular anecdotes regarding the Renaissance delivered by conductor Errol Moore.

Gesualdo’s exquisitely preformed madrigal Baci soave e cari displayed the hallmarks characterising the anguished harmonies of Gesualdo’s vocal writing, conveying the sadness which surrounded his curious personal life.

The subsequent brass works by Gabrieli and Palestrina displayed real grandeur; through their seamless composure, they became quite transporting, achieving halcyon visions of distant Venice. The introduction of the organ, in combination with the brass, made for a refreshing blend of timbres. Moving to Monteverdi, Da Capo’s singing of Anima mia was spendid, its composition startling with its tonal shift; the performance was delivered with sublime proficiency.

The concert concluded in a similar vein to its opening, with great embellishment on the organ. Thereafter, Gabrieli’s Hodie complete sunt, in celebration of Pentecost, experimented admirably with antiphonal placement of musicians and concluded a largely captivating performance

George Chittenden
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (March 2, 2015)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.