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Live! - Culture

ICU Choir Summer Concert

Jun 15 2004 18:16
Duncan Richmond
ICU Choir bring a taste of Africa to St Augustine?s
David Fanshawe in Africa (photo: Claire Leimbach)

St Augustine?s Church, Queen?s Gate, was the setting for last Friday?s performance given by the ICU Choir, once again under the direction of Dr. Therees Tkach Hibbard.

The IC Chamber Choir, a slightly smaller group made up from members of the larger choir, opened the evening?s performance with William Byrd?s ?Mass for Five Voices?. Written circa 1594, the work is a classic example of 16th century church music although it was written at a time when singing mass was punishable by imprisonment. The work is divided into six parts, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and the Agnus Dei. The choir gave a clear rendition of the Mass throughout, despite the church?s echo, no small feat, some would suggest, in some of the more dissonant areas of the score.

After a brief interval for both the choir and audience to imbibe a little wine, the full choir began the headline work, David Fanshawe?s ?African Sanctus?. The subject of a 1975 BBC documentary, ?African Sanctus? is a unique work, combining recordings made by Fanshawe on his travels around Africa with a more traditional mass sung by a choir.

The work commences with a movement simply entitled ?Sanctus? accompanied by the vibrant strains of the ?Bwala? of the Acholi people of Northern Uganda. This is followed by the ?Kyrie?, which is beautifully harmonised with the call to prayer as sung by the Immam of a Cairo mosque. The ensuing ?Gloria? is set against the music from a wedding witnessed by the composer whilst travelling along the Nile. The Gregorian style ?Chant? and ?Credo? are then accompanied by the fervent prayers of four men whom Fanshawe encountered in the Western Sudan one night and then the sound of courtship dances from the Chad region. This is followed by a haunting piano solo, masterfully played by the choir?s pianist for the evening Andrew Robinson and backed by a Hadanduan love song which combined produce a truly exquisite sound. The first part of the Sanctus then closes with the ?Et in Spiritum Sanctum? along with the songs of refugees telling of their plight and culminating in the awesome sounds of an African thunderstorm.

The second part of the Sanctus kicked off to the sounds of a tropical rainstorm and a lone tribesman singing, with the choir singing the ?Crucifixus?. There is then a return to the ?Sanctus? of the first part although with even greater energy and representing a true fusion of African and Western music. The conductor then sets the well known words of the ?Lord?s Prayer? to the sounds of a family grieving over the body of a dead fisherman and this more solemn sound is continued in the ?Agnus Dei? which follows to the music of a traditional African warrior?s burial. The Sanctus finally closes with a raucous ?Gloria? spurred on by the sheer energy of the African Bwala dance and percussion.

Whilst a slight deviation from the choir?s usual genre, the African Sanctus gave the choir another chance to show their considerable musical prowess. It has to be said though, that perhaps in this case, the choice of venue was not the best, with much of the recorded sound disappearing into the church?s echo. Regardless of this it certainly seemed that the choir had as much fun performing the work, as the audience had listening to it.

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Discussion about “ICU Choir Summer Concert”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Jun 15 2004 18:37

I must say that the multicoloured shirts worn by the choir certainly helped to create a bright impression. Reminded me of Windband concerts, such was the orange glare from one or two! Must say though, very enjoyable concert.

2. Horn   
Jun 21 2004 12:16

A fair point I suppose, however windband concerts usually involve significantly less shuffling about!

3. Roo   
Jun 21 2004 20:27

Most of the male shirts were blue. Its a sad fact that you tell a male to wear a coloured top and he immediately gets his blue shirt out instead of his white or black ordinary wear!

Jun 21 2004 20:39

I think Duncan is concerned that his article hasn't sparked controversy this time so if anyone wants to start an argument about coloured shirts or music or something!

Jun 21 2004 23:49

Not so much concerned as mildly disappointed Ruth.

Jun 22 2004 00:22

duncan another masterful work. wonderful style, excellent critique, masterful prose, superb prahim wildly exotic bekane. The fans will goo mad from Gazza to Raffy!

Jun 22 2004 19:21

Live is wonderful. One can submit the most hastily written drivel of any of my articles all year, and still be praised by the readership!

Jun 22 2004 20:18

Mine was a nice green shirt ;-)

Jun 23 2004 10:24

Mine was a nice, bright RED shirt :-)

Jun 23 2004 12:12

Indeed what an excellent response Duncan. Your marvellous wrtiing abilities are only parallelled by your wonderful sense of humour and style.

11. Duncan   
Jun 27 2004 14:14

Me....Humour....ok I'm occaisionally humourous, but style........I'm definitely detecting sarcasm now.

Jun 27 2004 22:04

Sarcasm duncan dear? Whatever gave you that idea...

13. Ruth   
Dec 09 2004 14:08

To anyone who is interested there is a choir concert on Friday in the Great Hall. We are singing Mozart's Requiem, Bach's Magnificat and Hallelujah from Beethoven's Mount of Olives.

The concert starts at 8:00 PM.

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See Also

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    19 Mar 04 | News
  2. Medics' Orchestra gives great concert once again
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  3. Windband Extravaganza!
    19 Dec 03 | Concerts & Gigs

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