Review – Venice to Vaughan Williams

St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin
11 May 2013
Conductor: Robert Craigie and George Chittenden
Guests: St Paul’s Cathedral Choir

Traditionally, brass bands are expected to march along playing in street parades, or performing in a rotunda in the park, but times have changed and on Saturday evening, Dunedin’s St Kilda Brass explored new territory by playing in a cathedral, when it joined with St Paul’s Cathedral Choir.

St Paul’s proved an excellent venue, and the judicious choice of repertoire resulted in no unwanted reverb or mixed harmonics, and along with a reasonable sized audience I really enjoyed the combined recital.

The choir, conducted by George Chittenden, opened with a strong performance of Jubilate Deo, by Gabrielli, an organist in Venice in Baroque times, demonstrating contrapuntal choral at its very best, with good balance and true tonality.

A drummer and brass quartet accorded Funeral Music for Queen Mary(Purcell) a processional entrance with appropriate formality, and Vivaldi’s Winter achieved a sustained and suitably chilly mood, with fine solo work by Erynne Scherf (Tenor Horn).

Beautiful tone from the 28-piece band interpreted a brass arrangement of Elgar’s famous Nimrod with passion, and impressive crescendos soaring magnificently, with no blurring or loss of purity in the vastness of the cathedral acoustics.

Other repertoire was Light of the World (Elgar), O Clap Your Hands(Vaughan Williams), the popular royal wedding march Crown Imperial(Walton) and Parry’s I Was Glad which generated a big sound from the combined groups, with a joyous air of pomp and circumstance under the direction of young conductor Robert Craigie.

The concert ended with All people that on earth do dwell with audience participation and two band and choir-only verses of creative harmony and cornet obligato.

Bruce Aitken introduced items with interesting historical tidbits such as royal performances, and Alan Edwards added organ accompaniment to several items.

Elizabeth Bouman

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (May 13, 2013)

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