Review: Aldeburgh Voices,Snape Maltings, Saturday April 2.

Once used freqently by the Aldeburgh Foundation,the Britten-Pears Chamber Choir gradually faded away. On Saturday, like a Phoenix from the ashes, it rose again, albeit with a new name: Aldeburgh Voices. Some faces were familiar, but, basically there has been some dramatic pruning and refurbishing. However, the most dramatic change has been the appointment of a new conductor, Ben Parry, who seems to have installed better discipline and higher standards of performance than existed previously.

Singing A Capella the programme ranged from Byrd to Britten and proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable hour or so. Performance was worthy,rather than wildly exciting, but the sound was attractive and the balance good,though the sopranos dont have quite the homogeniety of the the rest, and one could sometimes hear individual voices. The men, though fewer in number, were excellent,with their performance of two part songs of Schubert, Nachtliches Standchen and Grab und Mond sung with great sensitivity, and one of the high points of the evening.

The other high point was two first performances of works by the conductor Ben Parry: Sun Soul and Eclipse, the first sung at the begining, the second at th end.Both were instantly attractive: vivid, dynamic choral writing, especially the longer, more varied, Eclipse, which made a fine finale.

The outlook, then looks good, though they need to attract a larger audience: Saturday’s was woefully thin

Frank Cliff

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