Of shimmering sopranos and floating music

Polifemy. Picture: Graham McDonald.

Music / “Regina coeli: The Queen of Heaven”, Polifemy. At Wesley Uniting Church,  December 4. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD.

IF there was one nice advantage of dwelling in Renaissance Europe, it must have been the music sung within the nice cathedrals.

In fact, the downsides have been issues such because the plague, wars and the dearth of espresso machines, however the polyphonic sacred music by the nice composers of the interval nonetheless has the ability to captivate and uplift.

Robyn Mellor has been a continuing a part of early music efficiency in Canberra for greater than 30 years, with feminine vocal ensemble Polifemy specializing in renaissance music written and carried out by ladies, who have been largely nuns. For this live performance, the ensemble expanded to incorporate 4 male singers (two tenors and two bass) for a program of music in honour of Mary, the Virgin Mom.

The primary half of the live performance opened with a easy plainchant from 4 sopranos, earlier than being joined by three extra sopranos and three altos for a collection of Marian hymns by composers similar to Guillaume Dufay, Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Heinrich Isaac and Orlando de Lassus. The music merely floated over the viewers, the excessive notes from the sopranos shimmering above the remaining. At the very least two of those lady singers have fairly stunningly pure voices that are a pleasure to hearken to.

For the final two hymns, these by Isaac and de Lassus, the ladies have been joined by the male singers, including further depth to the sound, then launching into the second half of the live performance, a Mass by Flemish composer Jacob Obrecht “Missa Sub tuum praesidium”. This splendidly complicated music with completely different voices singing differing texts on the similar time. It was merely a matter of permitting the music to easily wash and engulf over the listener in a most satisfying means. A most pleasant live performance.