London International A Cappella Choral Competition: Review
Sunday 25th June - Saturday 1st July 2017
St John’s Smith Square
London SW1P 3HA
The Renaissance Singers were delighted to participate in the 2017 edition of the prestigious LIACCC, in which we competed against top choirs from around the globe. The featured composer of this year’s competition was Arvo Pärt and each competing choir’s 20-minute performance included one of his works.
Heat 1: Monday 26th June
The Renaissance Singers progressed to the Grand Final despite being drawn in a very strong heat. Haarlem Voices from the Netherlands opened the concert. Technically excellent and very well rehearsed, they performed the majority of their programme from memory.
The second choir to perform before the interval were the Iken Scholars. Their programme included much loved Renaissance repertoire - Victoria's Regina caeli and both of John Sheppard's settings of Libera nos, Salva nos.
The Renaissance Singers were the first to sing in the second half. Our programme was as follows:
Thomas Tallis – Verily, verily I say unto you
Arvo Pärt – The Deer's Cry
Heinrich Isaac – Angeli Archangeli
Josquin des Prez – Agnus Dei I & III from Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae
The judges seemed to enjoy the contrasts in our programme, despite all the repertoire being drawn from the Renaissance period. We were delighted to be able to share the kind of music we enjoy singing throughout the year, both to members of our regular audience whom we were so pleased were there to support us, and to music enthusiasts and the other choirs who haven't heard us before and for whom much of this music will have been unknown.
Arcadia Chamber Choir from Colombia provided a strong finish to the heat with a rich and varied programme which included works from their native South America.
Grand Final: Saturday 1st July
The Renaissance Singers were the only UK choir to qualify for the Grand Final, alongside groups from Hungary, Norway, Denmark and Poland. We were the second choir to perform, taking the stage after Dysonans Chamber Choir from Poland (the 'wild card' qualifiers). Our programme was as follows:
Jean Mouton – Ave Maria, gemma virginum
Byrd – Rorate caeli (without verse); Ecce virgo concipiet–Alleluia
Arvo Pärt – Magnificat
Josquin des Prez – Benedicta es, caelorum regina
We were then able to relax and enjoy the performances of the other groups, starting with the Istvanffy Kamarakorus from Budapest, Hungary. After the interval, the Copenhagen Chamber Choir Camerata and the Ole Bull Kammerkor (from Bergen, Norway) completed the programme. During the judges' deliberations, we were treated to a performance of Arvo Pärt's 'Fratres' for Violin & Piano, with the composer himself present at the event.
The competition winners were announced as Camerata (Denmark) with the Ole Bull Kammerkor (Norway) as runners up. We extend our congratulations to both groups. For the Renaissance Singers, the experience of taking part in a choral competition was new for us, and we were honoured to represent the UK in the final and to perform in front of Arvo Pärt and the panel of distinguished judges. We gained a lot from the competition and we hope that we succeeded in introducing some masterpieces of the Renaissance to a new audience.
If you were at either of the concerts and would like to stay in touch with us, we'd be delighted to add you to our mailing list. Thank you for your support and see you again!