The Dixie College Chamber Singers, a group of 21 very talented young musicians, offered a varied and exciting program of choral works ranging from the Renaissance to the late 20th century, with special emphasis on newer pieces.
The group, under the direction of Jong H. Kim, did an excellent job performing this varied program. The group has a good sound, with crisp and clear attacks and intonation. They performed the pieces from the different musical periods convincingly and stylishly. And they were supported by the fine accompaniment provided by Daniel Harrison on both the organ and piano.This concert was a delight, and it was too bad that it wasn't longer so that one could have enjoyed the singers more.
One of the loveliest pieces on the program was "Remember Me," a set-ting of a poem by Christina Rossetti by the 20th century composer James McCray. This was a tender, lyrical piece, with a gently flowing piano accompaniment, expressive in its simplicity and unpretentious harmonies. It was just beautiful.
The most thrilling piece on the program was "Plenty Good Room (On the Glory Train)," a contemporary spiritual by Kirby Shaw. The singers put plenty of spirit into their rendition. They got the song to swing and make it stand out.
An interesting piece was "Io Piango" by the contemporary Danish composer Morten Lauridsen. This is a modern version of an Italian madrigal lamenting love's pain, written in a Renaissance style, yet with modern harmonies and with dis-sonance used as a means of expressing the text.
The concert opened with two religious works from the Baroque: Alessandro Scarlatti's "Exsultate Deo" and Antonio Lotti's "Cru-ci-fixus II." These two pieces are diametrical opposites. Whereas the Scarlatti is a jubilant piece, the Lotti is a somber, expressive lament on the crucifixion. Both were well-performed, with the singers doing an outstanding job bringing out the sorrow expressed in the text of the Lotti and the joyfulness of the Scarlatti.
Other pieces on the program were Daniel Pinkham's "Wedding Cantata," a stale piece with rather predictable music, though the singers and Harrison did a good job in making it sound interesting, and Norman Dello Joio's "Come to Me, My Love," another setting of a Christina Rossetti poem.
A delightful English madrigal performed with charming conviction rounded out the evening: Thomas Morley's "My Bonny Lass She Smileth."