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October 27, 2015

Not even lights out could dim Tenebrae’s glorious singing

Dallas Morning News:

Starting with the King’s Singers, founded in 1968, England has spawned a succession of outstanding professional chamber choirs that have toured and recorded extensively. On Thursday evening, the excellent group Tenebrae, founded and directed by former King’s Singers member Nigel Short, came to Highland Park United Methodist Church, performing in the church’s Tower Arts Series.

The 17-voice group’s name, Latin for “darkness” or “shadows,” refers to Holy Week services in which candles are progressively extinguished. But the name was inadvertently dramatized in the concert’s second half, when a power outage plunged the church into darkness.

The lights came back on, went off again, came back on and then finally stayed off. Not to be deterred, the singers briefly exited, attached battery-powered lights to their music folders and returned. Singers and the sizable audience gamely soldiered on. At the end, with only muted light on Short spreading animated shadows around the church, the choir sang Anton Bruckner’s motet “Locus iste” from memory, and gloriously.

The first half of the program of unaccompanied sacred music was devoted to Spanish and Italian works spanning roughly 50 years around the turn of the 17th century. The sensuous counterpoint of excerpts from Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Tenebrae Responsories and the funeral motet “Versa est in luctum” by the contemporaneous Alfonso Lobo was exquisitely woven, and twisted tight at dramatic moments.

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Posted by acapnews at October 27, 2015 12:00 AM

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