Viva Voce Singers

MICHAEL DRAKE Dragon Hall, Norwich


Dragon Hall, Norwich

On my “to do” list for sometime has been a visit to the hall and to hear this a capella choir, so the invitation was just a question of checking the diary.

Saturday's concert started with a quartet of Tallis motets written about a century after the hall was built but there was no inspiration from this, although to be fair the acoustic, despite a 15th century “sounding board” wall was, to say the least, unfriendly.

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Directed by Jody Butler, some of their best work (forgiving a few tuning lapses) came in the Legato of Parry's My soul, there is a Country and Crossing the Bar - both sung with much better projection and feeling. Prior to this, Julie Black played a trio of brightly executed baroque voluntaries adapted for recorder, followed later by some delightful traditional dances.

And then the choir really came to life in a set of madrigals, the pick of which was Wilbye's languorous Draw on Sweet Night and a most satisfying performance of Bennet's Weep, O mine eyes. But in the final Farmer madrigal, Fair Phyllis, the choir showed versatility, precision and clarity, all of which were cleverly executed.

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