The Song Company has been one of Australia’s elite vocal ensembles for many years.
Drawing on an expansive repertoire, with historically informed early music readings, the group has maintained the highest standards for vocal performance.
At the Art Gallery of Ballarat the audience was treated to a concert unlike any conventional situation.
The singers sat around a dinner table, practising and realising part singing, while artistic director/singer Antony Pitts outlined the narrative.
The dinner party atmosphere was extended to the audience, who participated in the 5 part singing of Robert Parson’s “Ave Maria”, with the assistance of Song Company members judiciously placed in the audience.
The music of William Byrd (1543-1623) and lesser known contemporaries set the tone for this recreation of a Renaissance musical get together.
The “Lamentations” of Robert White (1538-1574) was the largest work, forming the dramatic highpoint. While the parts have equal status in this music, and this was perfectly realised, Robert Macfarlane, as Robert Dow, played the leading role very well as singer and actor.
Bass Andrew O’Connor, as William Mundy, laid the perfect foundation for this complex and harmonically rich music.
From the opening “Hey down, down, sing ye now after me” (anon.) to the final “Christe qui lux es” (Byrd) the Song Company performed with pinpoint accuracy and perfect balance, allowing the great music to speak clearly and with emotion.