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November 13, 2003


London Times

Only slightly less startling than the prospect of electable Tories is the emergence of cool choirs. And the 14 professionals in the Shout are deeply cool. They prefer to play nightclubs rather than cathedrals. They dabble with satire and sing about sex — things you don’t often encounter at, say, the Royal Choral Society.

Their music, mostly written by their composer-directors Orlando Gough and Richard Chew, is a fashionably eclectic mix, very much “late-night Radio 3”: minimalist riffs, rich jazz harmony, sensuous world-music modes, overlaid with heavy breathing, yelping and other avant-garde effects. And they sing mostly from memory. That’s vital. Not only does it allow whole medleys to be staged as dramatic narratives; it also immensely heightens their communicative powers. Alone among the performing arts, classical music still wrestles with this huge visual and psychological problem: that performers have their heads buried in their scores. The Shout’s virtuosos show what a difference a little eye-contact with the audience makes. More

Posted by acapnews at November 13, 2003 11:48 PM


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