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Sydney Chamber Choir Splendour & Mystery

March 25, 2023 @ 7:30 pm

Sydney Chamber Choir celebrates the harmonic power of double and triple choirs, separated in space or closely interwoven, in a glorious concert of contemporary, Renaissance and Australian choral music. With several choirs of voices and historic instruments, ringing out across the space, this was the ‘surround sound’ of past centuries!

Titled Splendour & Mystery the concert will feature two famous settings of the Magnificat, by Renaissance masters Heinrich Schütz, and his Venetian mentor Giovanni Gabrieli. This stunning polyphony, along with Gabrieli’s joyous, multi-part Jubilate Deo, will be enriched with the grandeur of early “brass”, provided by Sydney ensemble Camerata Antica. Led by Matthew Manchester, the ensemble features sackbutts (an early trombone), and the cornetto – a unique wind instrument, part flute, part trumpet, with no modern descendant.

“Sackbutts and cornetti playing alongside voices were a regular musical feature up until the seventeenth century,” says Matthew Manchester, who founded Camerata Antica in 2010. “The ethereal, sometime indistinguishable, combination of cornetto and voice is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful sounds you will ever hear.”

Swiss composer Frank Martin finished his sublime Mass for Double Choir in 1926 but left it in a drawer untouched for 40 years.  Performing it was, he said, “a matter between me and God”.  Conductor and the Choir’s Music Director Sam Allchurch has long wanted to program it, now one of the greatest choral works of the modern age.

“Gabrieli and Schütz wrote for public ceremony, but Martin’s Mass is intensely private music, written for the ears of God alone, and so beautiful and tender,” says Allchurch. “His Mass was less about separating two choirs, than weaving them together.”

The concert also includes two celebrated Australian works: Heavenly Father by Sydney composer Brooke Shelley, whose fine choral textures explore the circular nature of life and death; and Clare Maclean’s exquisite Christ the King, where several voices refract out of a single line of pure melody.

Finally, with overlapping harmonies and silences like waves on the sand, is John Tavener’s transcendent Hymn to Mother of God which, following his conversion, draws on the mystical traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Tickets From $50 (concessions available)

Bookings: www.sydneychamberchoir.org

Phone  1300 661 738

Check out our review of Sydney Chamber Choir’s performance of Paul Stanhope’s A New Requiem.




Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium
Macquarie Street
Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia
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