Friday, 29 June 2012

Voces8: Review

Tim MacBain reviews Voces8 at the Portsmouth Festivities

Voces8 are an a capella vocal group, consisting – ironically -- of eight singers. On Sunday 24th June, The Portsmouth Festivities was lucky enough to have them sing a concert in St Thomas’ Cathedral. Having an internationally acclaimed ensemble performing so close to PGS was exhilarating; the fact that the venue was so intimate (despite being a cathedral) lent the event a real buzz of anticipation as we took our seats.


 The range of music was gloriously eclectic, from the Brahms and Bizet to James Bond and George Gershwin. The first half passed like a dream, effortless waves of sound washing over the audience. As any member of any music ensemble who has played in the cathedral knows, that building eats sound. It defies belief that Voces8 could have filled such an acoustic with such an array of dynamics: each pianissimo drew us in; each forte sent us reeling. We were still reeling when the interval started. The precision, quality, control, musicality of each member of the group was astounding (see video below). We were all eager to begin the second half. 
None of us were disappointed; if anything, our hopes were surpassed as the energy augmented, finishing with the audience so enthralled that Voces8 were called back for two encores, including my favourite piece of the night, Slap That Bass by George Gershwin.

I have never before been moved to give a standing ovation at the end of a concert. If no one follows, it can, quite frankly, be highly embarrassing. However, that night, I genuinely didn’t care. No one could ever take away the stunning concert I had just lived through. Voces8 live their music, and communicate it so effectively that their audiences live it with them.


Voces8 perform Bach Cantatas:

Voces8's website: includes some of their recent recordings.

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