Classical Review: Collegium Singers

By URY EPPSTEIN
November 18, 2013 04:45

The Collegium Singers place noticeable emphasis on musical aesthetics, though somewhat at the expense of emotional expression in the Mendelssohn pieces.

1 minute read.



Singer [illustrative]

Singer [illustrative] 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

A capella singing was a welcome opportunity to enjoy the Tel Aviv Collegium in its concert’s first part. Divided indiscriminately between Israeli and Romantic music, it presented Ben-Haim’s Ladino Songs and Mendelssohn’s Songs op. 59.

The Collegium Singers place noticeable emphasis on musical aesthetics, though somewhat at the expense of emotional expression in the Mendelssohn pieces.

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Excellently pure intonation, appealingly soft voice production even in strong passages, clear transparency, sheer vocal beauty of radiant female voices and sonorous male ones, and perfect balance were a pleasure to hear.

Mendelssohn’s songs, however, sounded somewhat pale and indifferent, marred also by not always intelligible German enunciation.

The fair division between Israeli and Romantic music was maintained also when the orchestra joined in. Oded Zehavi’s orchestral version of his “Happy be those who sow,” in its first performance, displayed a skillful use of diverse instrumental tone colors that the work’s original two-piano version could hardly achieve.

The program’s concluding high point was Schubert’s Fourth Mass. In the Gloria, the Collegium Singers at last rose to expressing infectious joy. The solo singers – soprano Sarah Even-Haim, alto Merav Aldan, tenor Yuval Golan, bass Noam Mor – blended in harmoniously with each other, the choir and the orchestra.

The orchestra sounded cohesive, well-balanced, and radiated enthusiasm and vibrancy.

Hebrew-only program notes and the lack of the works’ texts amounted to a somewhat amateurish presentation of the event.


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