Tbilisi

MICHAEL DRAKE After their acclaim in last year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival, there was popular demand for the return of this quartet of chanters from the Georgian's Orthodox Church of St Panteleimon and they gave more insight into their style of singing.

MICHAEL DRAKE

After their acclaim in last year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival, there was popular demand for the return of this quartet of chanters from the Georgian's Orthodox Church of St Panteleimon and they gave more insight into their style of singing.

And it was well worth our tired eyes after Tuesday's late-night concert at Norwich Cathedral which surely strengthened the already close ties between the cathedral and Georgia.

They have two completely different techniques – the first and almost distant Sotto Voce, as witnessed in the opening chants, which were the epitome of serenity and vocal control. Later, this moved to the plaintive and more discordant and then away from minor modes with the first half church chanting ending movingly with Upalo leso Kriste with the high voice in subtle melody above sustained chording. No down-in-the-depth base, but a tone which showed how difficult it is for one culture to take on another's style – few western groups could provide such a sound.


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The second half of songs each had definite themes in a complete change of style, the voices projecting a far harder sound with no vibrato. Not unexpected perhaps for a song for wrestlers or one for war, full of turmoil perhaps to frighten the enemy, while for love, some gentility returned though hunters were made of sterner stuff and the final song about friendship and bravery had two "friends" singing in quiet minor thirds above a unison underlay. The Beatles were back with Yesterday and Auld Lang Syne too – certainly the chanters will be welcome.

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