Design by Austin Boyer
Shoulder to Shoulder in Front of the Choirook
REGENSBURG: It is an image that attendees of the night concert on Pentecost Sunday in the Dominican Church will remember: the vocalists from Cut Circle (USA) standing shoulder to shoulder in front of a large choirbook. Jesse Rodin positions himself at the lectern as “primus inter pares,” directs the group and turns the huge pages of the “Missa Ecce ancilla domini” by Guillaume Du Fay. This is authentic performance practice at its finest—and at the end of the concert it created a completely new, dense acoustic as compared to the more common choral arrangement used earlier in the evening.
Under the ambiguous, perhaps also ironically conceived concert title “My Fair Lady,” works of Marian devotion were contrasted with courtly chansons of the fifteenth century. The Renaissance world did little to separate spiritual and secular love and veneration in music. The intelligent program interweaves motets and chansons by Du Fay, Antoine Busnoys, and Johannes Ockeghem.
The eight singers performed in various formations, always with the finest intonation and an incredible assurance in the face of highly complex scores. It was also amazing how a troupe of fully-fledged soloists with distinctive vocal colors came together to form such a homogeneous body of sound. Beautiful sound was not the goal. Very tightly oriented around the text, the music was also gripping and powerful. And for the mass that brought the performance to a close, the singers stood very close together, the breath of one on the neck of the next. This image will endure.