Spring Concert - Sunday, 8th May 2022
Gloria, Francis Poulenc
African Sanctus, David Fanshawe
Review by Sasha Alexander
The Rosenethe Singers, under the direction of their conductor, Kevin Duggan, returned in splendid form with a concert in Dunblane Cathedral on Sunday, 8th May 2022. The concert featured a strong line of soloists in two stunning works, Poulenc's Gloria, and African Sanctus by David Fanshawe, both of which are highly demanding, musically and rhythmically.
Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Poulenc's opening Gloria was sung confidently, with lovely bright tone and excellent diction. This was maintained throughout the piece and the choir coped very well with Poulenc's changing harmonies and cross-rhythms, apparently enjoying the challenge.
Soprano soloist, Belinda Evans, performed her demanding solos with great intensity and beautiful tone, floating the high notes with poise and coming through strongly in her middle range. The final 'Amen' for choir and soloist was an altogether convincing end to a polished and moving performance.
David Fanshawe (1942-2010)
David Fanshawe's African Sanctus is unique in that it combines traditional Latin text with African chants and percussion.
We were drawn instantly to the sounds of Africa in an ecstatic and gripping opening Sanctus, leading to a heart-felt Kyrie, followed by the order of the Mass with additional chants, sounds of rain, frogs and traditional African instruments.
David Fanshawe was a remarkable man who travelled all over Africa collecting these sounds on tape. We were hearing the authentic voice of Africa in music and sounds, inspired by hearing the ‘call to prayer’ from a minaret while attending a church service in Cairo. An added bonus was the presence of Mrs Fanshawe who gave a short introductory speech leading into the performance.
The combination of percussion, with stringed instruments, piano and xylophone was thrilling and, soprano, Belinda Evans used her top register to great effect, soaring over the choir and intertwining with the instruments.
The Lord’s Prayer was sung beautifully by a group of young children and it’s not impossible to imagine this going into the repertoire for future concerts.
The choir was on top form and sounded incredibly confident and well-blended.
Welcome back Rosenethe Singers!
We now look forward to your performance of Brahms’ Requiem on Sunday, 20th November 2022.