Perth Concert Hall
They're clearly privy to the subtlest secrets of ensemble singing, five sober-suited German gents with matching red ties who stand onstage in a semicircle. They bring to their exacting task a seeming effortlessness that others would give their eye teeth to emulate.
The stylistically impeccable ensemble Amarcord sound entirely at home in whatever they essay, be it Renaissance madrigals, lieder, art or folk songs from countries as disparate as Korea and Sweden.
Most offerings are brief - two or three minutes, say, seldom longer than that - and each is polished to jewel-like perfection, with faultlessly fashioned phrases and impeccable distribution of tone. Unerringly, the quintet took up an interpretative standpoint at the emotional epicentre of each piece it offered.
They sound as much at home in, say, evoking the melancholy of Gesualdo's 'When we part', the miaowing, yowling measures of Grieg's delightful miniature about cats' shoes, the aching sadness of Schubert's Sehnsucht or hilariously simulating chicken sqwaaks in Scandello's 'A white hen'.
Engagingly laid-back, each singer takes turns to introduce this or that item with a few well-chosen words - and also coaxed many in the audience to sing along in a folk song from Ghana.
This recital would have to be one of the finest feathers in Musica Viva's cap this year, a joy from first note to last.Amarcord is touring for Musica Viva for the first time. I hope it will soon be back, not least for the benefit of those who chose to stay home on Tuesday, leaving far too many empty seats at the Concert Hall.
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