We hadn’t planned a lot for the Easter break, since I’m heading to Tasmania next Thursday, so when we noticed that a performance of Faure’s Requiem was being held at St Peter’s Cathedral on Good Friday, we decided to go. Bonus- it was free!
I’ve always loved Faure’s requiem since I discovered it as a music student at uni many years ago- the version with a boy soloist for the Pie Jesu always seems the most haunting.
Anyway, we parked at the uni (where Spotrick parks free at weekends)
and walked to North Adelaide via the oval and parklands. The university oval just north of the footbridge always reminds me of ‘Ocker Soccer’ which was a (rather short) tradition of students vs. staff footy matches in the Psychology Dept when I was a postgrad. I actually had a professional soccer player in one of my tutorial groups, so I invited him along to put in a surprise appearance on behalf of the staff side- hehe! (Our secret weapon). He put in a short appearance, although the Captain of our side (a keen soccer fan), Tony Winefield, was nervous about him sustaining an injury and being put out of action for his “real” matches! Naturally , we won and afterwards, there was a video of the highlights. The guys from the computing section had formatted a scrolling banner of “Ocker Soccer” on a VT-220 (very talented), and set it to “Thus Sprach Zarathustra” as a lead-in, and then the hilarious commentary by Michael (my ex, now deceased) and Adrian (another post-grad) accompanied the video highlights. We had plenty of video equipment in the department even in those early days as we did a lot of observational studies in social psychology.
OK, meanwhile, back on the path to North Adelaide, Spotrick and I took a few photos along the way
and arrived outside the cathedral at about 2.25pm for the 3pm performance- and there were two lonnng lines of people stretching up the streets and around the corner! Absolutely hundreds of hoomans, maybe a thousand! I guess everyone loves a freebie!
We got inside eventually and got a seat right against the northern wall on spare chairs, but we got a good diagonal view between pillars to the organ and choir and orchestra area.
After a few mildly christian words, we had a performance of the Haydn Lamentatione symphony- which is really mostly rather jolly. It was played by the University’s Elder Conservatorium Orchestra- although I thought the oboe’s tuning ‘A’ was a bit wobbly and off for a public performance- bad luck, probably didn’t have a recent warm-up. I also noticed with pleasure that one of my lecturers from doing Music at New England Uni was now the Director of the Conservatorium, something he must have dreamt of when he was just starting out teaching us all those years ago. This guy, David Lockett, is a terrific pianist, and was also a staff member at the Uni SA Magill Campus when I taught Child Psychology there- again, many years ago.
Whoops- too much diversion! Now the Faure requiem…this was beautifully performed by the orchestra, organ, harp, St Peter’s Choristers, Elder Conservatorium Chorale and soloists. I thought it was lovely, especially since these people don’t get together all that much and do other things besides make music! The baritone ( Lachlan Scott) singing the ‘Offertoire’ and ‘Libera me’ was quite satisfying- his voice was a fairly pure tone, without excess adult male gravelliness, and suited the piece. The violinist for the difficult and high-pitched Sanctus was a young woman (Nadia Buck) and she made a pretty good job of a very exposed piece. The highlight was (surprisingly to me) the Pie Jesu sung by a woman- a Chinese soprano called Chien-Ho Liu (thank you Chien-Ho for contacting me to correct your name). She gave the BEST performance by a female singing this who I have ever heard- probably one of the best of any that’s come to my attention. I even liked her better than the young boy with the cherubic curls who sings on the Kings’ College video that’s so popular on YouTube or Hayley Westernra! Her voice was so pure and ringing- it was easy to hear the words and she was perfectly in tune and without fault. I wish I had a recording of her! Maybe she’ll become famous and produce one soon! Searching YouTube for her at the moment only produces French dogs! NOT a good look!
So that turned out to be a good afternoon- we also took lots of photos as we walked back along the Torrens to the car, including plenty of the picturesque university footbridge.