Review by Terry Gaisin
After a decade of restricting concerts to the Oakville area, Musikay added a performance in Hamilton that was in cooperation with that city’s Centre français. Incorporating works by mostly unfamiliar French composers from the fifteenth & sixteenth centuries, there were also compositions by such luminaries as Rameau; Couperin; and the prolific Anonyme. The five choral members and director Stéphane Potvin sang a cappella in arrangements that were vocally intricate with melodic paraphrasing. The effective rondos coupled with two and three-part harmonies gave added life and meaning to the tri-focused selections.
Music relating to God; to Man; and to Love were the selection’s spotlight.
MUSIKAY is a small but highly professional vocal group whose self-committed mandate is not only entertainment but extensive emphasis on education and a widening of classical knowledge. Its program’s rationale is selections that are not mainstream or ubiquitous. Thus, each concert is a unique experience. Unfortunately, audiences are not as large as those that attend more conventional choirs.
Patricia Warnock who teaches at The Etobicoke School of the Arts possesses a beautiful and rich alto voice. Caroline Olsen possess a flawless soprano that never falters though the entire range and resonates even above the other singers. In addition to contributing to the vocals, also offered two violin duets with co-Musikay-er, bassist Geoff Ball on cello. Tenor Russell Sweeney and Paul Hawkins are the other members of the choir.
One selection; ’Je Ne Mange point de porc’ by Claudin de Sermisy offered one validation for why the Gaisin household insists on being ‘Kosher. “le triste cueur’ by Jacques Arcadelt, besides being prosaically fascinating, is also a familiar melody. Surprising that such a composer of madrigals as Arcadelt would also compose a small musical poem still familiar after four & a half centuries.
Grace Lutheran Church on Main West is a beautiful edifice and has a warm & friendly atmosphere that doesn’t feel a need to overstate its religiosity. The pews however, are tush-unfriendly!
The encore offering was almost contemporary. Evans & Livingston’s “Mona Lisa” was the 1950 Oscar©-winning song from the movie “Captain Carey, U.S.A.” that starred Alan Ladd. The basis for the repetitious usage of the piece throughout the flick is that Mona Lisa was the supposed theme-song of a Maquis group that met via the vehicle of being a choir!
MUSIKAY’s next offering is its popular Messiah on Dec. 19th at St. John’s United in Oakville.