Review / ‘Descent Into Madness’, by the Luminescence Chamber Singers

Music Descent Into Madness, Luminescence Chamber Singers, Conducted by Gordon Hamilton, Ainslie Arts Centre 20 September 2016 Reviewed by Len Power

LUMINESCENCE Chamber Singers is a virtuosic vocal octet comprised of versatile young musicians and based in Canberra.

Since 2013, the group has quickly gained a reputation for presenting exciting and excellent performances.

‘Descent Into Madness’ is a collection of vocal works described by the group as “a journey into the depths of musical madness, juxtaposing chaos and clarity, the scary and the silly.”

Presenting works by well-known composers such as Delius and Bruckner as well as others, the group also included a world premiere of a new work by Alice Chance called “Infernal Women”. Conductor, Gordon Hamilton, included an excerpt from his opera, “Moon: Spheres” and there were also works composed by group members, Patrick Baker and Olivia Swift.

The clarity and accuracy of the singing of this group is quite extraordinary. Individual voices are pleasing and there is a strong awareness of presentation to an audience.

To sing works like these unaccompanied takes great discipline and perfect pitch.

The group also makes the whole experience very entertaining as well. Particularly memorable were the works by Delius, Gordon Hamilton, Olivia Swift, Theodor Lucas and Patrick Baker. Alice Chance’s “Infernal Women”, about women through the ages charged with witchcraft, was beautifully constructed and musically fascinating.

In the second half of the concert, the group was joined by the Luminescence Children’s Choir. Established as a permanent ensemble this year and conducted by AJ America, the choir was particularly impressive in their opening number, “Cane Cutter’s Lament” by Stephen Leek.

It was a very entertaining evening of song with these young singers achieving a high standard in voice and presentation.

[Photo by Peter Hislop]

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