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July 18, 2005

Cantabile offers magical musical tour

Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL):

How appropriate it was that Cantabile, a British male vocal quartet, performed the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" during their Friday night concert at SMT Downtown. And how appropriate it was that the venue, which is home to Seaside Music Theater, was bedecked with a giant clown face and other carnival scenery -- all part of SMT's current production of "Cats."

The four Londoners, whose show was the first of the 16-day Florida International Festival, provided a magical tour through five centuries of music, from 16th-century madrigals to Beethoven to Beatles and goofy, slapstick takes on Elvis and -- you guessed it -- a choking-on-a-fur-ball version of "Memory" from "Cats." Yes, Cantabile (pronounced Can-TAH-bih-lay) was quite skillful at the "serious" side of a cappella singing as they performed 16th-century works such as Pierre Passereau's "Il Est Bel et Bon."

But the foursome were more captivating when they performed 20th-century hits and when they broke the rules and mimicked various instruments like giddy school boys disrupting class. The lads played it straight during a trip through the Beatles, moving from the silly "Yellow Submarine" to the morose "Eleanor Rigby." And they gave a simmering jazzy treatment to Gershwin's "Summertime."

On the fun (and irreverent) side, a clever "history of music" medley found the quartet pimp-slapping everything from Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" and Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" to the theme from the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" . . . or was that "Space Oddity," given that member Mark Fleming ridiculously mimicked the thundering tympani from "2001"?

"Orpheus in the Underground" was a lighthearted tour through London's subway system, quite fun but disquieting by its very presence. The song mentioned the King's Cross station recently struck by terrorists. The group made no mention of the tragedy -- perhaps that's the famous British "stiff upper lip" in action. In any event, Cantabile was fun and often engaging music in action.

Posted by acapnews at July 18, 2005 9:19 PM