Presented by chamber choir Candlelight VOX at The Seafarer’s Dome, 1st and 2nd November 2019.
By Nathan Michael Wright. Attended 2nd November.
Our fast-paced society often leaves us feeling stressed, frantic and out of time. Candlelight VOX presents an antidote with Pause, which focuses on music encouraging stillness and meditation.
Candlelight VOX have gone from strength to strength since their founding in 2017, and as a student led ensemble have presented a program with plenty to offer. Set within the Missions to Seafarer’s Norla Dome, the venue choice could not have been better, allowing the musicians to surround the audience to great effect. It is important to note that Pause does come with a ticket price, which makes this a professional offering, and so this reviewer had a couple of minor gripes that should be addressed. There were a few missed notes, as well as the interference of two techs that were not in theatre blacks that changed microphones between each number. However, these are minor faults when considering the amount of talent on display within Pause.
Pause presents a shockingly large amount of Melbourne musical talent. Listeners were treated to not only to the music of the choir, but also to the Storage room String Quartet. Soloists were also in abundance, particular highlights included singer Lisette Bolton and an exceptional performance from percussionist Bridget Bourne on the Vibraphone (presenting compositions by George Cox) which was an absolute standout. Both Lisette and Bridget are two of the finest young musicians you could hope to hear within Australia, and are certainly ones to look out for on the professional circuit in the very near future.
The choir performed at its best when co-artistic director and conductor Grace Gallur was at the helm. Rather than acting as a reserved and pious conductor of choral music, Grace came alive as a visual conduit for the choir to follow; her powerful passion for the music she was conducting was unashamedly on full display, and was an absolute joy to watch as well as to hear. The choir responded in kind, with particular highlights including performances of Tavener’s As One Who Has Slept and Paul Mealor’s Drop, Drop, Slow Tears.
John Cage’s notorious 4’33” was also included, and within a program emphasising stillness and meditation was a powerful statement, reminding us to stop, slow down and breathe.
Candlelight VOX should be exceptionally proud of what they have presented here. The amount of musical talent and passion on display for the ticket price is truly exceptional, made even more impressive when reminded that the entire ensemble consists of students. When considering the aim of this choir is to showcase the music of living composers and nurture Melbourne’s up and coming musical talent, Melbourne music lovers should make sure to keep and ear out for Candlelight VOX in the future.
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