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October 22, 2003


It's not often that St. Louis hosts a significant American debut, but it happened on Friday night at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Tenebrae, a 28-voice British chorus founded and directed by former King's Singer Nigel Short, gave its first concert on this side of the Atlantic under the auspices of Cathedral Concerts, as a part of the English Festival. Judging by the high quality of the performance, it will not be the last time we hear them.

Tenebrae (the word means "shadows" or "darkness," and is the name of a candlelit service held during Holy Week) used the great space of the Cathedral Basilica better than any other group heard there in recent years. Under Short's direction, they turned the room's enormous reverberation time into an asset. The performance was lit primarily by candles, creating an evocative atmosphere and setting a tone of mystery.

The performance began with four basses processing down the center aisle singing a plainchant Requiem, then it segued seamlessly into John Tavener's gorgeous "Song for Athene." Singers were posted in different parts of the church, adding to the auditory interest level. More

Posted by acapnews at October 22, 2003 6:03 PM


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