Brass shines and voices sparkle in firmament

Sophie Morris (soloist) sings with the St Kilda Brass Band with Peter Adams the conductor at Knox...
Sophie Morris (soloist) sings with the St Kilda Brass Band with Peter Adams the conductor at Knox Church yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh.
St Kilda Brass Band under the direction of Peter Adams, performed an exciting array of brass arrangements and contemporary compositions before a medium capacity audience in Knox Church  yesterday afternoon.

The band shared the stage with St Hilda’s Madrigal Choir and soprano Sophie Morris. Knox’s acoustics seem to mellow the sound of all performers except when Morris brought out the microphone.

In a programme titled "Among the Stars", all groups are celebrated for the stars among them and best wishes for the competitions ahead. In an afternoon replete with highlights, sadly only the super novas get a mention here.

Arrangements of orchestral works for brass can present many extreme technical challenges.

But St Kilda Brass is admirably up to the challenge, if not equal to it.

The blurred moments in Roberts’ fiendishly difficult arrangements of Holst’s Mars  and  Jupiter  are almost forgiven.

The band and its soloists fully redeemed themselves, however, with enchanting performances of Peter Graham’s swirling and sparkling Shine as the Light, and Cooper-Lovatt’s lilting  Enter the Galaxies.

The items chosen by St Hilda’s Madrigal Choir, under the direction of Michael Grant, highlighted their soulful well-modulated sound for Anthony Ritchie’s  He Moemoea,  Britten’s  Balulalow  and Jenkins’  Adiemus.

They showed rhythmic energy in Banja’s  Traditional Serbian Folk Song, though it could be improved with more slide than that encompassed by a Church of England sound.

Sophie Morris’ performances just keep on getting better.

She now has an impressive voice range and stylistic range, going effortlessly from the belle canto required in Dvorak’s  Rusalka’s Song to the Moon  and Puccini’s O mio babbino caro to Bernstein’s soaring  Somewhere,  Webber’s guttural Memory and Kander and Ebb’s raunchy All That Jazz

Morris is definitely the ascendant star.

Final accolades go to the band’s performance of Barry Gott’s lightly exuberant and sweetly fluffy Lightwalk.  

- Marian Poole


Among the Stars
St Kilda Brass Band and guests

Knox Church, Sunday, August 21 

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