Bel a cappella’s final concert for 2017 took its name from Arnold Schonberg’s 1907 score Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth). This harmonically rich and highly romantic work in four parts received not only a rare airing in Sydney but also a thoroughly commendable one.
Musical director Anthony Pasquill brings a depth of understanding to not only choral music but music of the European church tradition in general and his interpretation of this dramatic music was a delight. It was a fine conclusion to a concert at St Peters, Cremorne.
Opening the concert the choir performed Videte Miraculum by Thomas Tallis with confidence and style. Written more than 400 years ago this was inventive and absorbing music. Indeed, it was at times more ‘contemporary’ than some of the other 21st century compositions in the program.
Works by Bernat Vivancos, Stephen Hough and Paul Hillier all seemed to travel the same path – low drama but mostly attractive music. Arvo Pärt’s Sieben Magnificat Antiphonen from 1988-91 mixed up the emotions a bit more. Pasquill gave the music every opportunity to shine with clear directions to all the choristers.
A performance that gave great pleasure to the audience. At interval and afterwards I wondered what it was that the other audience members wanted from this concert and I surmised that it was sumptuous choral music from the tonal tradition. They got it in spades.