I Fagiolini and Sdasa Chorale

MICHAEL DRAKE St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

At a time when we are subjected to 'world music', the literal harmony of British and South African a capella singing last evening immediately seemed enough to be a salvation of many troubles as the Renaissance round Ah Robyn set the joint chorus's objective of vocal fusion.

Most of the music had a religious theme with the all-male Chorale from Soweto employing subtle harmony with (and mostly alien to a British chorus) spontaneous and infectious movement and expressions.

A new commission then jointly retained the cultural differences between the musics but Khutsho became a rhythmic crossover of the two to an enthusiastic reception.

A traditional Zulu song pointed to tonality differences while another from Zimbabwe emphasised the ensembles' togetherness - I Fagiolini making accompaniment for Sdasa's story.

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An arrangement of the 14th-century Douce Dame Jolie by Roderick Williams began to lead to a difficulty in distinguishing Western and African musical culture.

Finally a Victorian hymn was immaculately sung by I Fagiolini followed by roughly the same harmonies but with much more freedom by Sdasa Chorale to conclude a wonderful partnership in praise of song.

There will be no better entertainment during the festival and certainly no event received with more enthusiasm.

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