As my wife and I climbed into our car for the ride home after hearing the incredible concert at the Carmel Mission by Chanticleer, all we could say was, “That was so beautiful, I never have to hear another concert as long as I live!” It’s true. This evening was a treat; a joy to the ear for which I have no other choral comparison.
It would be a waste of time to go through the program and tell you that the ensemble sang this and that from this century or that musical period or tell you that they performed works by this composer or that. This concert was about grace, style, harmony, sound, joy, diction, charisma, involvement, invitation, and total satisfaction. Let me simply describe the experience.
The most fantastic, mind-blowing part of the evening was that the listener felt that the 12-voices were one. I have never heard anything so rare, so unique. The ensembles were seamless, flawless. The diction was perfect for the hall and not over blown. The group was formal yet inviting and accessible. The connection to the audience was immediate and pervasive. The audience, like-wise, never coughed, sniffed or opened a throat lozenge. They were enrapt. They never moved, never breathed. Why? Chanticleer deserved its attention, its respect.
Plainsong was sung the way plainsong should be sung. It had line, purpose and beautiful tone. Throughout the performance, the intimate pianissimos and full throated fortes were tasteful and complimentary. Their musicality was unmatched, interpretation stunning. Where is my thesaurus?
I will mention three pieces in particular. “The Word Became Flesh” by Jan Sandstrom (commission funded by the Osher Pro Suecia Foundation) was a modern piece (Sandstrom born 1954) and it was a glorious, totally satisfying work that I can’t wait to hear again. The others were “Suo gan” a traditional Welsh piece, arranged beautifully by Lawrence Wiliford. What a stunning work. The other was a setting of “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Gustav Holst and arranged by Joseph Jennings. Both of these pieces brought a tear to the eye and were exquisitely performed.
I am so glad I heard this concert!
Soapbox: I know it sounds like I might be related to someone in this group or that I was paid to say what I said. I am not related and I have received no money (yet). All I can say is, I will never miss another Chanticleer concert.
Reg Huston has been a concert soloist and has performed leading roles in opera and musical theater throughout the greater Monterey Peninsula for over thirty years.