RESOUND: PUT A RING ON IT
The summer season of local LGBTQI+ choirs continues and this time with a very impressive and accomplished ensemble who have, for some time now, been delighting not only with their musicality but with their ambition. Resound have never shied away from tackling not only challenging works but also less well known material. A recent change of musical director might well have changed that but it is heartening to see that under the leadership of their new MD Sam Barton things continue to be as exciting as ever. In fact the new directions being taken are very exciting for those of us who enjoy hearing fascinating new or unfamiliar work.
Put A Ring On It was formed around a love story between two men, from meeting to marrying. It could have been done with a string of pop standards of course, but not for Resound, they gave us a delicious programme of pop and ballads liberally interspersed with humorous ditties from Dilly Keane and Hollywood harmonies from Hoagy Carmichael and also with challenging pieces by Poulenc and others amongst some very beautiful sacred songs and a slice of excellently arranged MOR rock with Seven Bridges Road by The Eagles. There whole was carefully steered between the delightfully cheesy, the moving sentimental and the truly comedic.
As a choir they really do have an excellent and balanced sound that filled The Chapel Royal with both luscious bass and baritone sounds but also with soaring tenor voices too. The earlier pieces were a little less confidently and precisely delivered but pretty soon they were well into their stride and knocking them out with smiles on their faces. It is one of the signature elements of this choir that they always perform and look like they are having fun, and after all this should be an enjoyable experience for any choir as well as their audience.
The programme was punctuated by four very new works by Basil Richmond sung by sister ensemble Rebelles member Sally Wilson, delightful new pieces sung very beautifully by this confident soprano. Basil Richmond accompanied his own work on piano but for the rest of the evening the piano was played by the talented keyboard virtuoso Howard Beach who came to prominence on the global platform as harpsichord player with the acclaimed early music ensemble Red Priest.
For me though the high point of the evening came in the shape of three songs that not only had I never heard but also from a composer that I have never heard of either. All part of the choir’s decision to champion unfamiliar work, works written by women and from other musical traditiosn. In this case the Estonian composer Veljo Tormis. Meeste Laul (Men’s Song), Teomehe-Laul (Serf’s Song) and Tantsulaul (Dancing Song) are fascinating and delightful, so much so that I spent the next morning listening to more Tormis – and what is not to love about having ones ears opened to exciting music that you have never been aware of.
Resound always delight, that sense of exploration that was so strongly present with their fascinating Scandinavian repertoire continues to grow, as does their level of achievement musically, and as such they set the bar very high, not only for others but for themselves. So as an encore a rich and rumbustious sea shanty did exactly the right job!
The Chapel Royal