A capacity audience filled the Mosman Art Gallery. Bel a cappella has been around since 1995 and as the name implies they specialise in unaccompanied repertoire. In this concert they performed mainly with 4 hands at the piano.
Brahms: Liebesliederwalzer, Op. 52
These light choral waltzes were sung with good hearted enjoyment. The phrasing and dynamics were sensitively done; the singers always with the conductor. All the pieces had a dancing lilt and I particularly enjoyed the “Nein, es is nicht auszukommen” as it had some of the unrestrained exuberance of the waltz. There was a full sound of the bigger numbers like “Ein dunkerler Schacht is Liebe”.
Clara Schumann: Abendfeier in Venedig (Vespers in Venice)
This rarely heard Ave Maria was a most enjoyable revelation. The composition is luscious and the parts were well balanced, the tone and texture were full and the phrasing musical. I was grateful this Clara Schumann piece was included in the program.
Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem
I’ve always thought that this piece would be wonderful with an orchestra, but Brahms decided against it. The solo baritone Alexander Knight in “Herr, lehre dich mich” and in “Denn wir haben…” was, as always, musical, disciplined and wondrous rich in tone. What a delight this young man is, approaching every performance with professionalism and commitment. He brings a sense of humility and wonder for the music.
The restrained ecstasy of “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen” recaptured the magic of the Schumann. Very sensitively done.
Celeste Lazarenko sang “Ich habt nun Traurichkeit…” with a vibrant, shimmering and well-supported tone; often producing a thrilling sound.
There were many impressive musical moments in this concert.
Bel a cappella: A German Requiem | 29 August 2015 | Mosman Art Gallery.