Shamistha de Soysa | April 8, 2017
When the Sydney Chamber Choir stepped up to the platform of Sydney University’s Great Hall last weekend to perform German Romantics, there was a new face at the helm. Emerging young conductor Sam Allchurch led the ensemble in a guest role in this brilliantly curated anthology.
It was an exceptional performance, complemented by pianist Jem Harding accompanying the choir and also contributing a solo of his own. Having attended numerous fine concerts by the Sydney Chamber Choir and chronicled many, I would boldly claim that Allchurch drew from the choir a speckless sound infused with colours and tones that took the ensemble into a ravishing new soundscape.
Angus McPherson | April 9, 2017
“In one way or another, all of the music in this programme is concerned with faith and belief,” wrote conductor Sam Allchurch ahead of the Sydney Chamber Choir’s German Romantics. “How these concepts were worked remains for me the most interesting side of the 19th century.”
Allchurch’s passion for this music was on display in Sydney University’s Great Hall as he lead the SCC through a beautifully constructed programme of Mendelssohn, Schubert, Brahms, Herzogenberg, Rheinberger and Schoenberg.
Jacqui Smith | April 12, 2017
I first met young conductor Sam Allchurch on a tour bus in 2003, travelling around the United States with Gondwana Voices. Tonight’s guest conductor would sit next to me on the bus and we discuss in detail the music we were performing and what he was going to do when he’d grown up. Well he sure has grown up.
I have long loved the purity of sound and professionalism of the Sydney Chamber Choir and it had been at least a year since I had heard them last, so the choice between this concert and three other strong contenders on a Saturday night in Sydney was easy. Allchurch devised a wonderful program of nineteenth-century German sacred and spiritual music, ranging from very early Mendelssohn to not-too-atonal Schoenberg. What I loved about the program was that most of the works were short so we got to hear the variety of works from this time, swaying from the joyous to the serene to gut-wrenching devotion and faith.
Paul Nolan | April 12, 2017
The Sydney Chamber Choir has started its impressive 2017 season with a concert swathed in exciting emotional moments and exquisite restraint. Audience members who can attend all events in this season will cherish some special experiences of major works. The choir’s skilfully balanced programmes will also successfully juxtapose smaller works from many different time periods.
For this ‘German Romantics’ concert the choir was led by Sam Allchurch in a joyous cavalcade of German choral music. The selected works ranged in chronology from Schubert’s Gott ist mein Hirt (The Lord is my Shepherd) composed in 1820 to Arnold Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth) written in 1907.
Sydney Chamber Choir next performs at the Great Hall, University of Sydney on July 23 2017, with a program including Benjamin Britten’s cantata Saint Nicholas.