Sacred choral music, traditionally written for liturgical purposes, has moved into the concert sphere more and more as fewer churches have the resources to include large-scale works. Many great compositions are rarely heard in church services in Australia.
For the Eucharist celebrating the Feast of All Souls last Sunday the Ballarat Anglican Cathedral included Baroque composer Heinrich Biber's Requiem in Fm, an important work of power and beauty.
Significantly, the performance of this Requiem brought together many of Ballarat's finest musicians with the Klemantyne Ensemble, the long established small choral group Vox, choristers from St. Mary's North Melbourne and the Cathedral choir, conducted by Lyndell Allen.
The forty member choir was large enough to maintain the broad dynamics required while keeping a consistent choral texture.
The solo parts interspersed within the six movements were performed with excellent projection and clarity. The teamwork and balance with the instrumentalists contributed to a near faultless performance.
The three trombones were highly effective, complementing the strings in shaping the instrumental texture. Importantly, the solemn character of the Requiem came through in a moving performance where the music's purpose was fully realized.