Last night, I managed to slather on a tie and a generous helping of pants before getting out the door to attend Vancouver’s second meeting with England’s Stile Antico (Whom I have previously gushed about in this space). The group has pretty much cemented it’s status as a early-music juggernaut. Even if there was some scandalous vocal disaster on stage it would be petty to bring it up as you’d have to be a loose caboose to think that such an event was in any way telling what the group is capable of and what their standards of performance are. They know they’re good and we know they’re good so there’s probably a conversation out there with a little more meat on it.
I do have to say one thing about choirs in general before moving on to something else; some part of me feels like choirs in this flavour should somehow extract themselves from our line of sight while performing. I don’t mean it as a disparaging comment, they’re perfectly agreeable to look at, it just feels like the medium is straight-jacketed by a convention of modern performance practice rather than thinking about how to best use the space to deliver the message. It feels more natural to me at a choir concert to avert my gaze from the stage or let my eyes become unfocused and heavy and I wish choirs would work with this instinct and cultivate it rather than stand motionless on an empty stage just because that’s the way it’s done.
In what was probably the only noticeable misstep of the evening, William Byrd’s In resurrectione tua was tantalizingly short. It seemed to hint at a gloriously epic encore but we were instead served a small apértif that, while beautiful, felt proportionately small.
Great concert, where were you?