The Spheres, a heavenly concert in honour of EV100

SIIRI IISMAA 16. okt. 2018

UNSW’s chamber choir, The Burgundian Consort, is an elite arm of the Collegium Musicum Choir directed by the accomplished choral director, Sonia Maddock. The Burgundian Consort comprises 18 experienced choristers with high-level music literacy, who present an annual recital in September of each year.

The Spheres, a heavenly concert in honour of EV100
Photo: Jade Lau

Their 2018 evening recital, called 'The Spheres', held on Wednesday September 19 at the Sir John Clancy Auditorium, UNSW, made an insightful offering to the celebration of the Centenary of the Republic of Estonia through works of Veljo Tormis and Urmas Sisask. Maie Barrow's invaluable expertise and guidance in the Estonian language resulted in flawless renditions of four of Tormis' Estonian lullabies: 'Laulan lapsele' (I sing for my child), 'Marjal aega magada' (It's time for the little berry to sleep), 'Lase kiike käia' (Let the cradle swing), and 'Äiutus' (Lulling); Urmas Sisask's 'Dominus vobiscum'; four pieces from Tormis' 'Sügismaastikud' (Autumn Landscapes): 'On hilissuvi' (It is late summer), 'Üle taeva jooksevad pilved' (Clouds are racing) and 'Kahvatuv valgus' (Pale light); and Urmas Sisask's 'Benedicto'.

In addition, the Burgundian Consort masterfully presented works from Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo: the opening movement of his Sunrise Mass 'The Spheres' (which gave the evening recital its title) and 'Ubi caritas'. Also featured were Arensky's 'Three Quartets Op. 57' with guest cellist, Paul Stender. The Consort rounded out the program with some traditional English madrigals from Byrd and Purcell. Last, but not least, the program also included the premiere performance of the winner of the Willgoss Choral Composition Prize 2018, Owen Elsley's 'the stars'.

The audience was delightfully transported across the universe. We cannot thank the choir and Sonia, the director, enough for marking such an important event in the Republic of Estonia's calendar with such power and sensitivity.