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November 9, 2009

Chanticleer has never sounded better

Deseret News (UT):

Chanticleer, a 12-member vocal ensemble from San Francisco, hasn't been to Utah very often over the years, but Weber State University managed to snag them Saturday and bring them to Ogden during their current tour.

Boasting a large number of newer singers, Chanticleer has never sounded better. And what has made them one of the foremost vocal groups today is still intact: flawless articulation and execution; crisp, cleanly phrased singing; rich sonority; and well blended yet distinct vocal timbres. They bring nuanced expression to their interpretations, and their take on early music is vibrant and dynamic and never dull.
Hearing them is an experience that's not soon forgotten.

For their concert, Chanticleer brought a delightfully varied program that had a little bit of everything: plainchant, renaissance, contemporary, Latin, folk and popular. There certainly was something for everyone, and everyone left the hall after the two-hour show happy and satisfied.

Chanticleer opened the concert with a lengthy set of early music. It included the plainchant "Veni sponsa Christus" along with settings by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and an evocative setting by the 20th century Frenchman Jean Yves Daniel-Lesur. There were also captivating pieces by the Elizabethan composer Orlando Gibbons and 15th century composers Guillaume Dufay and Clement Janequin.
To their credit, Chanticleer has the ability to make music that is 400-500 years old sound fresh and alive. They make it interesting and bring a vibrancy to it that not many groups can, with the notable exeption of Lionheart.

The rest of the first half was devoted to compelling pieces by Gyorgy Ligeti, Chen Yi and Steven Sametz. Yi's piece, "Spring Dreams," in particular was fascinating in the way she captures the sounds of nature vocally through effects and superimposed tempos and rhythms.

The second half focused on new works and commissions, including an atmospheric setting of "Agnus Dei" by the Irish composer Michael McGlynn, and selections from "Sirens," by the young San Francisco composer and DJ Mason Bates. The final set featured countertenor Michael McNeil on "Shenandoah" and countertenor Cortez Mitchell on George Gershwin's "Summertime."

Posted by acapnews at November 9, 2009 9:21 PM


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