It is no mean feat to prepare and perform these six towering, landmark motets, even in two concerts, albeit 48 hours apart, but especially at the standard achieved by the Adelaide Chamber Singers with the clear and strong direction of their Artistic Director and conductor, Carl Crossin.
In the perfect acoustic of St Peter’s Cathedral for this genre, this concert featured Fürchte dich nicht, Lobet de Herrn, and Singet dem Herrn, teamed with a delightful homage to Bach by the Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt, and a sensational solo from renowned Australian violinist Lucinda Moon.
This is a meticulously disciplined and highly accomplished choir, which deserved the rapturous applause from a packed cathedral at this 10pm concert. Crossin extracts from the group clear melismatic runs at a crisp pace, his tempi always seeming just right for the piece, and the choir’s mastery such that any (only a few) slightly muddy patches are easily forgiven. Clarity of interweaving lines is demanded by this complex writing, and is achieved beautifully by this choir. Fine balance between the two halves of the choir in the antiphonal sections was matched by some beautifully pure soprano tones, and fresh, accurate repeated descending chromatic passages from the tenors.
Knut Nystedt’s Immortal Bach is a spine-tingling and hypnotic piece, based on Komm, Süsser Tod. Sustained discords evoke Bach’s melodies until the tangle seamlessly resolves. This too was expertly and sensitively handled.
The other highlight of the concert was the extraordinary Partita No 2 for solo violin BWV 1004, played superbly by Lucinda Moon on a rich, mellow baroque violin. Her delicate phrasing and interweaving emphases made the most of the cathedral acoustic to great effect, as she breezed through the complexities of Bach’s intricate passages.
A great concert, befitting a fine Festival – the local talent easily finding its place in the international line-up.
Adelaide Chamber Singers in association with Adelaide Festival presents
Late Night in the Cathedral
The Complete Motets of JS Bach
Conductor Carl Crossin
Venue: St Peter`s Cathedral
Program One – 3 Mar 2014
Program Two – 5 Mar 2014
Tickets: $90 – $70 (Two concert package)