Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lund Chamber Choir

Well I needed to write this early since I’m going out of town this weekend. I decided to write about the music the Lund Chamber Choir sang last night. They were directed by Hakan Olsson. I found it interesting that he is a CPA with Ernst and Young and on the side he directs this highly acclaimed choir.
Their first piece was “Kyrie” from Mass for 4 voices by William Byrd. The piece would have many phrases ending on PAC’s and then all of the sudden Byrd would throw in deceptive cadences. It made it interesting to listen to because it wasn’t predictable at all. The choir had a very focused sound during this piece and blended well, but their consonants weren’t together in some instances.
Next, the Chamber Choir sang four motets by Poulenc. I noticed that little vibrato was used and in the second motet imitation was dominant. The third motet was very eerie and the bass was used as a pedal tone throughout. A soloist began the fourth motet. It was beautiful except she barely opened her mouth. The solo was very slow and then when the rest of the voices entered the piece got very fast.
Sven-David Sandstrom, who is currently a composer at IU, arranged the next piece, “Hear my prayer, O Lord” originally written by Henry Purcell. The words “hear my cry” were repeated continuously throughout the piece and contained a lot of dissonance which made it sound like crying. The piece ended beautifully on a PAC, except I hated the enormous breath they took in between the last two words.
The choir stood in a mixed position throughout the first couple pieces, but switched into parts for the next couple songs. I thought it made them sound less blended and together after they switched. Laudi by Ingvar Lidholm was the next piece which had three movements. The first movement, Homo natus, contained a staccato section which stood out for me. Haec dicit Domine was the second which contained odd harmonies and the soprano and bass sang the same melody but in a different octave throughout the whole piece.
After the intermission, the choir sang all Swedish contemporary romantic music. Two pieces by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, I fyrreskoven and Stemning. Ir fyrreskoven was an extremely short piece with the tenors singing the melody. Stemning contained the same text as the next piece “September” by Wilhelm Stenhammar. I figured the pieces would be very different but sounded quite similar, almost the same melody.
The last piece, Stilla, skona aftontimma, is a hymn by Oskar Lindberg which means “calm, beautiful evening hour (of life)”. Each phrase started piano and gradually had a crescendo and then decrescendo and was truly calm and beautiful.
Overall I enjoyed the concert a lot. My biggest complaint was they were wearing navy blue skirts with black shirts and it looked really tacky together.

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