Yesterday evening we had a very curious and certainly unique combination of musical elements. This consisted of Siglo d’Oro, a vocal quintet, who combined forces with Sam Corkin on the saxophone. Those of us who were there finally unravelled the mystery of this combination. We all wondered how they were going to perform and listening to them singing and playing we could see that they just made it work absolutely wonderfully!
Siglo d’Oro specializes in Renaissance and contemporary sacred vocal music, and what experts they are! Singing motets by Morales, Gibbons, Tavener, Britten, Croft, Weelkes, Taverner, Rex and a piece specifically composed for the Victoria International Arts Festival by Murray Turnbull, the ensemble came across as supremely polished, mastering perfect intonation even in the more contemporary pieces, and fantastic phrasing. Three plainchant pieces, namely, In paradisum, Levavi oculos meos and Haec es dies were sung solo by the soprano, a bass and a tenor.
Sam Corkin provided saxophone accompaniment to a few of the pieces and, despite the very idiosyncratic quality of the instrument – one that we would normally associate with a big band or a jazz ensemble – blended so well and exquisitely with the quintet of voices. Sam displayed full mastery of the technique and the almost raw, primitive tones he managed to deliberately produce gave that edge to the quality of the performance which made it so unique!
This was one performance with a crucial difference, a display that attests to the certainty that the old and the new can indeed co-habit in harmony! And what harmony that was!!!