A Sweet Sugar-free Christmas Treat
by Suzanne Daumann
Florence, December 16, 2017 - On a rainy somber December day, the six King’s Singers have come to town, to bring us gold, sweet thoughts and lovely sounds. Six wonderful voices, Patrick Dunachie and Timothy Wayne-Wright, counter-tenors, Julian Gregory, tenor, Christopher Bruerton and Christopher Gabbitas, baritones, and Jonathan Howard, bass, are the contemporary King’s Singers. The mythical voice sextet is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, and they have cooked up a program that unites modern pieces by contemporary poets set to music by ancient King’s Singers and Christmas songs from through the centuries.
Be it Gaudete , Veni veni Emmanuel or Maria durch ein Dornwald ging , each song was interpreted with impeccable taste and timing. In the Carol of the Bells , one was reminded of the English tradition of change ringing, and one had to wonder if one of the venerable methods had been at the origin of the composition. Merry and bright it sounded, very much like a crisp Christmas morning. Some songs strayed a bit from the Christmas theme, but all conveyed a message of joy and peace. It was deeply moving to see these young men, so fresh and fun in their black suits and a rainbow of ties, so committed to their art and its contents. They master to perfection the British way of blending comedy and depth of feeling that we find so often in Britain’s cinema and literature.
The second half of the concert was dedicated to a selection of American Christmas songs in close harmony. Again, the singers showed their perfect technique, voices blending marvelously together, solos ringing out clear and intense. Shorn of the least bit of sentimentality, sung with unexpected rhythms or at breakneck speed, these songs brought fun and cheer to the house, and the concert ended after two encores and enthusiastic applause and cheering.
A lovely time was had by all and on our way home, the night was less gloomy and hope had been rekindled of new lights to come.