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October 13, 2003


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Singers of a cappella counterpoint can direct the ear to shifting points of interest in the musical texture, or they can blend, balance and tune so precisely that all the voices can be taken in at once. The Scholars of London did some of both Saturday evening. At times, though, they managed neither. Such moments broke the spell, and Renaissance liturgical music is, above all, about maintaining a spell.

The Scholars sang an Early Music Now program of music from the repertoire of the Sistine Chapel. The St. Joseph Center Chapel, a high, narrow room just made to envelop the listener in sound, was just the place for it. When the singers were right on pitch, and they generally were, the chapel sang along with them and the air became a palpable, vibrating presence. When they were barely off, as they occasionally were, the resonance faded and the music shrank.

Blend had as much to do with it as pitch. The countertenor voice is not a pea from the same pod as the others, and Amps is altogether more brilliant in tone than the men. They make this combination work amazingly well, but they're working against the wind. More

Posted by acapnews at October 13, 2003 9:57 AM


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