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The Tudor Consort

May 15, 2019 May 2019 No Comments

L – R: Megan Hurnard, Mathew Painter, John Beaglehole, Melanie Newfield, David Houston, Nicola Holt,  Jeffrey Chang, Erin King, Brian Hesketh, Michelle Harrison.

Martinborough Town Hall, Waihinga Centre, 31 March, 2019

The title of the Tudor Consort programme was Chansons d’Armour – Songs of Love. When I first read this, the 1976 recording, Chanson d’Armour, by Manhatten Transfer came to mind. That is where any comparison ends. Chanson D’Amour, one song of love, was composed in the late fifties and reached the Top Ten never to be heard again. The Tudor Consort, a Wellington Choir, specialise in songs of the Renaissance. These compositions have endured and are still sung today. 

The Tudor Consort did not use the stage; the group performed in the auditorium. Much of their repertoire was written in the style of music composed for the high vaulted ceilings of renaissance cathedrals. With its high ceiling and bright acoustic the auditorium was particularly suited to The Tudor Consort programme. Their voices soared majestically upward and filled the auditorium with a sound that would not have been too dissimilar to that when this music was first performed centuries ago. They sounded glorious.

A choir for mixed voices, the group were beautifully balanced. They sang unaccompanied. I wondered which pitch perfect singer would give the starting note. No-one did. Instead, out came a smart phone and the internet did the rest.

Musical Director, Michael Stewart was not present. He would have been thrilled with this performance – spine tingling, beautiful and uplifting harmonies.  Move over The King Singers.

The Town Hall was very much a “Field of Dreams” journey – “[renovate] it and they will come”. Bookings are increasing. It is great to see high calibre groups like The Tudor Consort among them. Problem is, like Wanderlust Opera, The Tudor Consort did little effective marketing to publicise their concert. In fact, one member of the choir said they were surprised so many people turned up (probably 30-40). Word of mouth is a good way of advertising but someone has to know about it to spread the word.

Entry was by koha.  Such exquisite singing, performance preparation, hire fees and other expenses including the trip over the Hill justify a ticket price. Maybe it was thought no-one would come if there had been. After all, music of the Renaissance is not mainstream nor something many in this community would listen to every day. There is however, a considerable following for choral music, not just in Martinborough, but in the Wairarapa.

Come again. We will willingly pay to hear you sing if we know you are performing here.                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                     Winifred Bull

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