REVIEW: Temple Winter Festival 2017, Voces8

Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph


Christmas vocal concerts come in many kinds. There’s the austere scholarly sort that make you sit up and pay attention, with lots of counterpoint in Latin. There’s the “new spiritualism” variety that takes the familiar sound of a choir and gives it an intensely subjective, mystical twist. And then there are the ones packed with old Christmas favourites, which you can just sit back and enjoy.

Last night the eight-part vocal group Voces8 very cleverly combined all three, and even threw in a couple of American-style crooning pop songs, performed with superb finger-snapping style as encores. They are the perfect young group out of central casting, good-looking, superbly turned out, with an eye to the telling theatrical effect. Sopranos Andrea Halsey and Eleonore Cockerham emerged in the second half in new sparkly frocks, just like proper divas, and twice the choir processed as they sang, filling in the gaps between Praetorius’s lovely old carol Est ist ein Ros’ entsprungen and Thomas Tallis’s O Nata Lux with a mystical drone sung by the two basses. Once they paused at a distance so we could relish the effect of the sound filtered through the lofty columnar spaces of the ancient Temple Church.

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