Choral Choir Review: Adelaide Chamber Singers

Who: Adelaide Chamber Singers together with The Choir of St. James Church, Sydney and guest pianists Jamie Cock and Kristian Chong

What:  Johannes Brahms’ Requiem

Where & When:  Sunday 6 May, 2.30pm in St Peter’s Cathedral, North Adelaide

Bookings:  Adult $45.00.  Concession $37.00

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Photo courtsey of the Adelaide Chamber Singers

Personally I think that there is no better way than to spend an afternoon basking in the divine musicality of the Adelaide Chamber Singers. I did just that when I attended their performance of Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem at the Saint Peter’s cathedral, and when I walked out I felt uplifted and enlightened by their song.

Upon entering the cathedral I reduced the median age of the audience significantly, which is somewhat surprising to me. This is the kind of music that is therapeutic for the soul; more people need to be out here showing their appreciation for the classics. I love a good session of Cardi B as much as the next person, but this kind of performance has the ability to boost my morale, and gives me an appreciation for vocals in its purest form.

Coincidentally, this is the second performance of Brahms’ requiem I have seen in a matter of months (click here to read my other review). This has given me an interesting point of comparison in regards to their execution of the requiem. The Adelaide Chamber singers have presented it in its traditional form, the venue and structure attest to this, and is arguably more befitting to the tone of a requiem. The sombre and dark tone of the music being performed in the cathedral captured the true essence and context of a requiem (funerals). It transported me to a backdrop of attending a catholic funeral in the 1800s. The cathedral provided the classic echo-like acoustics associated with choral choirs, and consequently the choirs’ voices reverberated effortlessly throughout, bouncing off the walls, creating a song that surrounded you.

The blending of voices between the choral sections created beautiful harmonies. I found myself being swept up in the rising and falling dynamics, especially in the final movement which was accompanied by exceptional piano playing which created the extra depth and fullness to the song. It was a powerful performance, evoking the emotional and poignant mood appropriate of the requiem.

There were several soloists who performed, and I appreciate the counterpoints made between them and the chorus members. It seemed conversational and they were impervious in their transitions and the way they worked together. In particular, the baritone soloist was a standout for me, his ability to hit all the notes and the vibrato in his voice was outstanding. The only criticism and this is so ‘typical’ for choirs, is that the sopranos were overpowering in the second movement, drowning out the bass part causing a temporary imbalance.

Rachel Wong

3.5/5 stars

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