Early Music Montreal

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Glory of the Vatican

This concert took place at the Chapelle Sacré-Coeur of Notre-Dame Basilica. It is a magnificent venue with a beautiful wood carving behind the altar and sun streaming down on either side from the windows on the roof. What a perfect place for this concert. SMAM which for this performance featured an a capella choir directed by Christopher Jackson, always delivers high quality concerts. This one was a gem. The music was perfect for the setting, very spiritual and complex. Palestrina's Missa papae Marcelli was the focus of the concert. His music is like a tapestry with interwoven lines. The choir produced a rich texture of sound through the interplay of voices. A highlight ( no matter where you hear it) was Allegri's motet, Miserere mei deus. A small group moved to the organ loft. The piece alternates between the main choir and the small choir. The soaring soprano part which comes from above and behind sends shivers up one's spine. It seems to come from a heavenly place.
This concert left me with a feeling of floating through the air. What a mellow way to spend a Sunday afternoon.