Last Wednesday evening saw the Imperial College Chamber Choir?s cultural offering for this term. The concert was held at Holy Trinity church, next door to the Union building Prince Consort Road.
The Chamber Choir is made up of members of the much larger ICU Choir, which performed in the Great Hall last week, and is ably led by the same director; Ms. Therees Hibbard. The choir was also backed in places by organist and accompanist Michael Mizgailo-Cayton.
The choir set the scene with Ludovico Grossi da Viadana?s (1560-1627) ?Exsultate Justi?, the first of a series of choral motets they would go on to perform.
?Sicut Cervus?, an excellent example of renaissance choral music, based on Psalm 42, and written by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, followed on from this. Palestrina is sometimes referred to as the ?Saviour of Church Music? as a result of his work in suppressing the secular influences on ceremonial music during his era.
The third piece was ?O Quam Gloriosum? composed by Tomas Luis de Victoria, which depicts the transition from life through death and into the afterlife. The choir gave a secure rendition of the work, capturing well the changing mood from the darkness of death into the more comforting surrounds of eternal life.
Their subsequent offering was Johann Sebastian Bach?s fugue in B flat major, ?Alles Was Odem Hat?, a more fiery piece with a strong central theme to which the choir did justice.
Haydn?s ?Missa Brevis? was next in the repertoire. This work lives up to its name, which literally means ?short mass?, and consists of six short movements. The fifth, solo movement, the ?Benedictus?, was superbly sung by soprano Ruth Davies who gave a well controlled, and musical delivery, throughout the piece.
The choir soundly rounded off the more traditional side of their concert with Mendelssohn?s ?Four Sacred Songs?, before switching to the more modern end of their programme.
The first of their more modern works was Emma Lou Diemer?s ?Three Madrigals?. The choir showed good control both rhythmically and dynamically as they went from the rolling melodies of ?O Mistress Mine? into the quieter ?Take, O Take Those Lips Away? and finally into the comparatively raucous ?Sigh No More Ladies?.
Next up was Bob Chilcott?s arrangement of ?And So It Goes?, originally by Billy Joel. This moving work is a personal favourite and the choir recital certainly did not disappoint.
The penultimate work of the concert was the lilting folksong ?Shenandoah?. The choir?s delivery allowed the audience to envisage the vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah river valley in Virginia USA for which the piece is named.
The choir?s final item was Copland?s short and exuberant ?Zion?s Walls? which provided a fitting finale.
As always the choir provided a thoroughly enjoyable concert with, perhaps, the only shame being the sparseness of the audience there to appreciate it. With such a varied program there was certainly something for everyone, and this reporter would strongly recommend attending one of their future concerts.