Voces8. *Photo supplied
Voces8. *Photo supplied

Ecclesiastical music lovers were treated to an excellent concert at City Hall where the internationally renowned choir Voces8 filled the hall with music from the 16th Century to the present day. 

Voces8 is an octet comprising of two sopranos, two counter-tenors, two tenors, a baritone and a bass who sing a mixture of ancient and modern music.  They formed originally from three members of the Westminster Abbey Choir and the choice of repertoire was indicative of the sacred music they would have sung daily at evensong and at state occasions. 

Much of this came predominantly from the English Renaissance featuring composers such as Gibbons and Tallis and they even sung an entire four part mass by William Byrd.  More recent offerings were some exquisite arrangements of spirituals including Go Down Moses and Steal Away which featured some solo singing by the bass.

Unsurprisingly, Voces 8 are highly accomplished singers and the quality did not disappoint. Their intonation and timing were first class and they showed how eight people could fill the hall with sound without need of amplification.  The control of their voices was very well displayed in the song The Lamb by the 20th Century composer John Tavener which requires slow, sustained, quiet singing and excellent breath control. Voces 8 sing extremely well in harmony and there will be few places on the island where one would be able to witness eight part polyphonic singing. Keen students of singing would have done well to observe the diction of the choir, where one could hear every word sung and how they all came in and ended perfectly.  

If there was one criticism of the concert, it would be that this sort of music should really be performed in a different venue. In a cathedral there is at least half a second delay where the music can resonate and echo throughout the building. Much of the music sung had pauses where this effect would have been heard but at City Hall fell flat due to the acoustics.  But in all, this was a concert where choral music lovers could hear some great and meaningful songs by a quite remarkable choir.