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September 30, 2015

A celestial lunar season opener

San Francisco Chronicle:

The transformative powers of the moon were on full display at Mission Santa Clara on Saturday night, when the men’s chorus Chanticleer opened its season with an ingeniously programmed and beautifully sung evening of music old and new. From the pull of the tides and the intoxicating force of moonstruck love to the magic of the full moon, this was a program full of mystery and enchantment.

Yet the most remarkable sorcery on offer was in the group’s singing itself, which sounded more polished and finely blended than I’ve heard it in years. The sonorities of the 12-man ensemble reconfigure themselves subtly season by season, as new members join up and old members move on. Like the sea itself, these shifts produce a vocal landscape that is at once unbreaking and ever variable.

The current lineup, though, has clearly reached some new pitch of excellence. Maybe it’s the arrival of William Fred Scott, who recently joined Chanticleer as music director. Maybe it’s the inevitable outcome of changes in the particular vocal qualities of the membership.

Whatever the cause, Saturday’s concert was nothing short of thrilling, from an opening set that interspersed music by Monteverdi with those of English composers, to a final run of pop songs and spirituals. The choral textures were impeccably focused and clear, with a strain of translucency that seemed to speak directly to the evening’s lunar theme.

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Posted by acapnews at September 30, 2015 10:24 PM

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