December 12, 2020
Available onlineVoces8’s latest virtual festival is a heavenly, homely showcase of choral works old and new. In Amsterdam, a memorable first airing of a great composer’s final work
The week in classical: Live from London Christmas; Louis Andriessen premiere – review
Amid the blizzard of images crazing our senses this year, one stood out last week: an elite choral ensemble from Oakwood, Alabama – the Aeolians – singing their hearts out to a riotous Star Wars-meets-gospel version of Joy to the World, all wearing masks. They encapsulated at once the struggle and determination of musicians to perform. They made us think afresh, in sickness or health, what it is to fill our lungs with air. As each Singer from this Seventh-day Adventist university choir drew breath, the fabric of their masks inhaled and exhaled with them, muffling their rich sound. They weren’t deterred. Nothing could quench their pleasure at singing.
Recent holders of the Choir of the World title, the Aeolians were one of several groups taking part in Voces8’s Live from London Christmas online festival. Voces8 themselves are a British vocal octet with impeccable standards and complete versatility, from early polyphony to Cole Porter. Their educational foundation, which takes the group’s name, aims to bring “the power of singing to communities around the world”. Every event here (with the London Adventist Chorale, Take 6, Westminster Abbey choir and the Gabrieli Consort yet to come, and young ensembles showcased too) differs in style and content.
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