Choir’s ever improving technique impresses

The Royal Dunedin Male Choir. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The Royal Dunedin Male Choir. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Royal Dunedin Male Choir, St Paul’s Cathedral, Sunday, June 9.

On a chilly winter’s afternoon, a large audience in St Paul’s Cathedral gave the Royal Dunedin Male Choir a very warm reception.

This choir increases in technical finesse on every outing.

Yesterday afternoon was no exception.

Under the direction of John Buchanan, and skilfully accompanied by Linda Folland, they sang with good intonation, excellent balance between the voice parts, well-judged dynamics, good unforced vocal tone and above all exemplary diction.

The well-structured programme almost had a "showstopper" theme to it.

Famous show tunes included Irving Berlin’s There’s No Business Like Show Business, which had forceful rhythms and well-judged accents, Rogers and Hammerstein’s It’s a Grand Night For Singing revealed a deep sense of emotion and textural commitment and The Surrey with the Fringe on Top was crisply delivered. The last chord in Ivor Novello’s We’ll Gather Lilacs was very powerful. The final show song was Try to Remember, which evoked deep nostalgia despite a ragged entry into verse 2.

The unaccompanied sea shanty Leave Her, Johnny was sung with suitable vitality and ruggedness and similarly the men thoroughly enjoyed The Gendarmes’ Duet.

Buchanan also conducted guest artist Cantus Columba, with Sharon McLennan at the piano. They were well disciplined, singing three varied pieces with great confidence and, in the arrangement of Hine e Hine, the floating tone of the sopranos was most pleasing.

Cameron Monteath, piano, was the second guest artist playing works by Liszt and Kreisler showcasing fine melodic work with singing fingers.

David Burchell played a movement from a Mendelssohn organ sonata as a tribute to the late Frances Brodie’s 22 years’ service to the choir.

The concert concluded with an arrangement of I’ll Walk Beside You gifted to the choir by its arranger, Alwyn Humphreys, and was a fitting end to a fine concert.