IN TEMPORE PASCHALI

★★★★☆ A three-part polyphonic soothing of the soul for Easter. St. Mary's Crypt, Sydney March 30, 2016 In a year 11 maths class, I distinctly recall having an argument with a school peer about whether Tchaikovsky or Beethoven was the greater composer. When I proposed the question “Tchaikovsky or Beethoven?” to my teacher, he replied, “Monteverdi”. Without Monteverdi’s towering figure in Western music, none of the proceeding greats would have been possible. In the Crypt of St. Mary’s Cathedral, the a cappella vocal group The Song Company put on a performance of early music, including Monteverdi, Gombert, Byrd and Mundy, together with works in a polyphonic style by contemporary composers incl

IN TEMPORE PASCHALI

In 1610, after transforming his musical style with what he called the seconda pratica, or "second practice", and creating the first musically significant opera, Claudio Monteverdi had a "retro" moment, composing a six-part Mass of gloriously intricate polyphony in the style of 16th century masters like Josquin and Palestrina. To clinch the connection, he based it on musical motives drawn from a motet by another 16th century composer, Nicolas Gombert, In illo tempore and it was Monteverdi's Missa In illo tempore and Gombert's motet that formed the central thread of the three parts of The Song Company's radiant presentation in the acoustically miraculous crypt of St Mary's Cathedral under thei

BACH AND FORWARD

What a fascinating program. The Song Company, under the musical direction of their new leader Antony Pitts, sang three Bach motets alongside choral music from the 19th century which specifically reflected Bach’s influence. The title of the concert, Bach and Forward, may have given an idea of the chronology of the music sung, but in fact the music by Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Brahms in this program was even more obviously backward-looking than Bach’s own – and we must remember that Bach’s contrapuntal music was considered at least 100 years out of date when he wrote it. But this was seriously interesting programming. Antony Pitts, who has taken over the musical direction of the Company fro