Let it be known the Skagit Valley has a new crown jewel for vocal music. Cantabile and David Cross have joined forces to appease the most demanding chamber music fans.
The singers were excellent, especially for their first concert. Hmmmm….. that statement doesn’t do it justice. I was able to get lost in the beauty of their sound; my eyes transfixed to a higher beauty. THEN I discovered this was their first concert. WOW.
The vocals were blended well by David Cross, especially between the altos and sopranos. I would take a guess the group has spent a fair amount of tiime on pronunciation, because with only a couple exceptions the pronunciation was even and balanced throughout the entire group.
David Cross has a powerful presence which captivates me. He has a very sturdy classical air, yet I always think at any moment he is going to do something wild and crazy, ala Monty Python or PDQ Bach. Maybe that’s more of a reflection of my sense of humor. If David Cross picks some PDQ Bach music for a concert, then I will consider that I have won the bet. His imagination and insight into music selection alone gives hint of future creativity we can expect to see from Cantabile under his capable hand.
The choice of music was excellent and kept our interest during the performance. David Cross explained that the flow of music was to herald in the beginning of advent in a more traditional way, then gently lead into Christmas songs and lighter faire.
One piece in particular that was spellbinding was Cantabile’s treatment of “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre.Â ( Real Audio link for Lux Aurumque. I have never heard chord patterns delivered in quite that fashion before, it was like an entire new musical language was being presented. It’s overtones were so mysterious; the changes so mystic. This may have been a performance that will never be repeated in strength of beauty and tone. At first the overtones that crept in were so thick, I half wondered if it was intentional. In finding out more about the piece, it was indeed the intentional craftsmanship ofÂ David Cross, a master of detail. You can listen to the Real Audio link of the piece, but I tell you that life is unfulfilled until you have heard it performed well live. More Info about Eric Whitacre.
I am partial to chamber music. For chamber music fans it would appear that Cantabile will be the premiere vocal group in Skagit Valley. I applaude David’s foresight to start a group like this. Cantabile is one of those groups that makes life all the more richer for all of us.
Gloria in D, RV 589
Hodie Christus Natus Est
What Sweeter Music
Robert Herrick and Michael Fink
The Blessed Son of God from “This Day”
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Some Children See Him
Wilhla Hutson and Alfred Burt
Arr. by Jay Rouse
Arr. Darmon Meader
All On a Starry Night
Paul Williams and Joseph Graham
Vasile Alecsandri and George Dime
Edward Esch and Whitacre/Edward Esch
Arr. Earlene Rentz
Merry Christmas Mozart
Arr. Jay Althouse
Go Where I Send Thee
Arr. Paul Caldwell/Sean Ivory
David Cross – Cantabile Conductor
Lois Vander Meulen
Lu Anne Hargis