The concert, or maybe a more accurate description, the entertainment Dreamers of the Day presented by The Song Company is a 75 minute near non-stop journey through bits and pieces of music from Handel and Bach to the present day.
The longest work at nearly 40 minutes (though it incorporated the Swingle Singers version of Bach’s Sleepers Awake) was Anna’s Rapid Eye Movement by the musical director of The Song Company, Antony Pitts.
A tape recording with pianos, percussion and additional voices created a foundation on which he could float his dramatic ideas Pitts wrote vocal lines as diverse as Schonbergesque Sprechstimme to simple church hymn-like melodic fragments to convey his musical argument. It seems that he is steeped in many musical traditions from period English music of the 1920’s and 1930’s to the music of Philip Glass and the ‘soundtrack’ had a relentless minimalist feel to it.
Pitts was most fortunate to have soprano Anna Fraser as the protagonist in this work. She was magnificent vocally and in the conveying of the dramatic pathos embedded in the text of the work. Indeed, the other Song Company performers in this current production, Alexandria Siegers, Robert Macfarlane and Andrew O’Connor brought great enthusiasm and deep musicality to this work.
Of the other works in the concert most amusing was an arrangement for four voices of Handel’s Zadok the Priest. The slow build-up from strings and oboes of the original sounded hilarious from just four voices. Great party piece. Stravinsky’s Lord’s Prayer was a welcome breath of fresh air.
The performance space at Yellow House is small and at times, when the volume gets into the fortissimo realm, it can be a bit big. But the audience seemed to cope and were an appreciative one.