This weekend the Australian Chamber Choir’s program of chorale music from the Sistine Chapel moved back and forth from regional Victoria to Melbourne and over a century of music.
The gorgeous acoustics of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middle Park suited the otherworldly choral performance of this seasoned troupe of 18 singers. Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus opened the program, cutting through the coughs and chair scrapings and transporting the audience heavenwards – Sistine Chapel-like – towards the painted ceiling of this beautiful church.
Following on from Palestrina was another of Allegri’s predecessors, Josquin des Prez, whose Ave Maria begins with a single voice gradually joined by three others in a kind of reverential round. Two madrigals by Jacques Arcadelt, set to poems by Michelangelo, were a fitting tribute to the enduring artistic and musical inspiration of the Sistine Chapel.
Throughout the 60 minutes of Sunday’s performance, Michelangelo’s influence was never far away. Like his Creation of Adam – a masterpiece built on the shoulders of earlier old masters...