On the eve of a trip to the 61st Grammy Awards, The King’s Singers showed the Early Music Vancouver audience the sound that garnered them a nomination for Best Classical Compendium, for “Gold” their 50th Anniversary album. The Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC was filled with patron and the amazing voices of the six member acapella choir.
In keeping with Early Music Vancouver’s values to promote historic works, The King’s Singers sources their catalogue to take us back to the Renaissance for Royal Blood: Music for Henry VIII. The first half of the performance included pieces composed by Henry VIII, plus William Byrd, court composer of Elizabeth I and other Tudor composers; Thomas Weelkes, Thomas Tomkins. In addition, other royal inspired works like excerpts from Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana, pieces from Henry Purcell and Richard Rodney Bennett.
After the interval, in keeping with The King’s Singers usual second act, the songs became more contemporary starting with the traditional folk legacy of the earlier madrigals like Greensleeves, which has been often attributed to Henry VIII. The iconic Danny Boy also received Singers’ close harmony treatment. The sextet also moved on to modern day composers; George Gershwin (Can’t Sit Down from Porgy & Bess) The Beatles – Lennon / McCartney (And I Love Here & Honey Pie), The Beach Boys (Kokomo).
Throughout the show, the members; Patrick Dunachie, Edward Button, Julian Gregory, Christopher Bruerton, Nick Ashby, and Jonathan Howard, regaled the audience with anecdotes and historical context for the pieces of music. Even if the music might not have been familiar to all, the rapport and charm of the Singers really connected with the audience. In the pre-concert talk, with EMV’s Artistic Director Matthew White, Dunachie noted that the singers don’t like to break eye contact with the audience, relying on non-verbal cues with each other to keep the connection with their audience.
While The King’s Singers didn’t come away from The Grammy’s with a trophy, everyone at The Chan Centre was a winner by being able to experience the amazing vocals of the British choir.
Experience the next Early Music Vancouver show, Chopin – The Last Concert – Tobias Koch, February 22nd at Christ Church Cathedral. A presentation of Chopin’s last concert by German pianist Tobias Koch