“Glück zum neuen Jahr!“ to the Australian Chamber Choir, what an amazing concert!With the advent of Covid-19, I have attended several concerts on-line, and what a treat it has been, but the Australian Chamber Choir’s performance of Ludwig van We Missed Your Birthday is inarguably the best. What a delight!
Artistic Director Douglas Lawrence’s microphone could have recorded better, which is a shame, but this small thing was the only technical difficulty they appear to have encountered. The Choir’s notes were bright, vibrant and magical. Of course the real magic is in this Choir achieving such a superlative concert listing for 2021 given the challenges of 2020. I can’t wait to hear more. I have already taken advantage of the concert being available to attendees for (repeat) streaming for three weeks, and I expect to do so again. I am sure it’s a very popular feature.
The three part-songs by Beethoven launches into a superb showcase of the Choir’s capabilities. In The Elegy Song Elizabeth Anderson’s transcription of the string quartet parts for voices is masterful and the Choir brings the piece to life. I’m sure Beethoven would have approved!
Gordon Kerry’s Seven Last Words was my highlight of the performance. I loved the arch of emotion and the timing, with each verse being so distinctive and yet clearly part of the whole.
Williams’ Valiant For Truth (not available after midnight of the live concert) made excellent use of the acoustics, and the “trumpets” at the end were a special treat. It was a pleasure that this was followed by Poulenc’s Timor et tremor, and the other three motets (also not available after midnight of the concert), to which I sang along in my heart as I followed the words in the programme.
A note on the virtual version of the programme online: Through the browser the programme is a joy to peruse. A paper programme could have of course have had this information, but a virtual programme allows for a much greater detail. The additional context to these pieces increased my enjoyment of the pieces (and allowed me to sing along inside!).
The finale was a bit of perfect fun. Introduced by Lawrence as, “no guesses as to what this is”, the Choir performed one of the most recognisable pieces of music in the world, even if not everyone knows where it’s from. This rendition of Beethoven’s, 9th Symphony was beautiful and a fabulous ending choice.
The applause throughout was so very well deserved. I clapped myself, in the quiet of my house. I’m so delighted that live concerts have been able to return to us. Australia is one of the luckiest places. Congratulations to the Choir for such an amazing piece of work and I wish them well through 2021 and beyond.
Ludwig van We Missed Your Birthday is available to watch from Sunday 21 March 2021 to Friday 16 April 2021