Luminescence shine gentle on the human physique

Luminescence Chamber Singers. Photograph: Peter Hislop.

Music / “Of the Physique”, Luminescence Chamber Singers. At ANU Drill Corridor Gallery, March 30. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA.

IN a triumph of sheer excellence, Luminescence Chamber Singers on Thursday evening offered a live performance of uncommon depth.

With a mission to discover the complete potential of singing, the artists, beneath the steering of the ever-present Roland Peelman and the hand drum that he used to whip them right into a ardour at occasions, they explored the vary of the very oldest musical instrument – the human voice.

This imaginatively-programmed live performance was full of sunshine and shade, with polyphonic harmonies, stunning breakout solos, plainsong, spoken phrase, and even buzzing, popping, droning and different vocal sounds to emulate musical devices of the lesser sort.

The 17 separate musical gadgets within the live performance ranged although ravishingly stunning Renaissance chansons by Dominique Phinot and Adriaen Willaert, a motet by Thomas Tallis, indie-folk songs with quirky lyrics organized by Peelman himself and even a type of musical “Kama Sutra” by Gerard Brophy, whose lyrics weren’t translated for worry of offending us with their naughtiness.

A comic book spotlight was Orlande De Lassus’s “Nostril Dance”, a jaunty piece delivered with cheeky insouciance by the singers, which proved past doubt that German has one of the best phrases of insult – “Gschneizte, rotzig, butzig,” (Blown, snotty or soiled) went one description of noses.

The centrepiece of this live performance was a brand new work by Canberra tenor, conductor and composer Dan Walker, “Of The Physique”.

Cleverly interspersed with the opposite repertoire, it averted any sense of a laborious song-cycle the place you end up counting the numbers.

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Whereas the opening half, the Introit, set to classical Italian phrases by Petrarch, reveals Walker’s debt to early Renaissance music, elsewhere his music was up-to-date and generally gently discordant as he blended solo breakouts with advanced, overlapping phrasing, and generally as within the closing work, spoken phrase.

The phrases are necessary in every thing Luminescence touches and have been delivered with good readability.

“Sara Sara”, set to phrases by the well-known seventeenth century haiku grasp  Basho, regarded by the hands of a Japanese lady, presumably dying shibori cloth, starting with a ravishingly stunning mezzo-soprano section by Luminescence director, AJ America, earlier than the opposite singers entered.

“In Caligaverunt Oculi Mei” (for mine eyes have seen thy salvation) he blended ache and struggling with love by means of an early twentieth century poem by Sara Teasdale, blended with plainsong chants from the Good Friday liturgy.

The finale, “Easy methods to Maintain a Coronary heart” was a shock, with the textual content taken largely from newspaper recommendations on find out how to conduct oneself throughout transplantation surgical procedure.

Prose recitations of the textual content have been regularly and subtly enhanced by the sung phrase, the voices rising regularly till the live performance ended on a quiet observe of respect, with the phrases,  “Give the guts the reverence its deserves…My coronary heart can not die”.

Luminescence Chamber Singers is now funded by the ACT authorities, and this live performance will journey to Wollongong and Sydney Opera Home.