Troilus Ensemble/Sederunt Inverness Cathedral 22/3/14
Inverness Cathedral played host to a programme of early and contemporary music on Saturday evening (22/3/14) provided by two local groups. A wide range of material spanning the centuries was performed. The Renaissance was represented by Gesualdo, Dunstable and Tallis, with Van Ness and Troilus bringing us up to the present.
The Troilus Ensemble certainly doesn’t shirk a challenge. For this outing they chose to perform the Tenebrae Responsia by the tortured Italian music genius Gesualdo. The exploits of this character sound like the stuff of a Werner Herzog film and indeed the German director has obliged with the aptly titled: Death for Five Voices. Overall the Ensemble provided a workman like performance of this extremely technical composition. They are to be further congratulated in bringing to life this extremely interesting piece of work to a northern audience.
After a short break the various elements of the male group Sederunt showcased their talents. As with the Ensemble it is good to see young folks involved in early music. In the first section the vocals of James Ross, Tilman von Delft and Reno Troilus deftly melded together in Quam pulchra es and Santa Maria by the English medieval composer John Dunstable.
The remainder of Sederunt joined the three soloists for a performance of the first part of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis. I don’t know if this was deliberate or not but in a reflection of northern Celtic musical tradition countertenor Reno Troilus took on the role of precentor with his vocals soaring over and underpinning this part of the recital
The full Ensemble returned for the last three works of the night. These brought us right up to date. Mt heart is a holy place by the American Patricia van Ness was well performed with the bass voices providing an organ like sound over which the rest of the vocals floated.
The final two pieces – The Divine Image and Hear me O Lord were composed by the Ensemble conductor Reno Troilus himself. They showed a debt to William Blake and the recently deceased Sir John Tavener – the subject of the next outing for the Ensemble – look out for further details.
The audience was small but appreciative with a good age range. It is good to see young folks in the audience as well as young talent in the groups themselves.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we are very lucky in the north to have our own versions of the likes of the Tallis Scholars and the Sixteen in the Ensemble, Sederunt and Musick Fyne. Make sure you get out and see them if you can.