When Phoenix Choir invited Christine Wheeler and vocal quartet Canon Fodder to join their May concert, they jumped at the chance to perform a feast of Italian music ranging from the renaissance music of Palestrina to the high-baroque of Vivaldi.
Phoenix Choir musical director, Rowen Fox, built a program around two Magnificats. Durante’s Magnificat, often attributed to his famous student Pergolesi, had an elegant simplicity which contrasted with the rich melodic and harmonic beauty of Vivaldi’s Magnificat. Canon Fodder sang the solos in these works and also performed three pieces on their own, by Palestrina, Marenzio and Pergolesi. To start the concert all joined together for the majestic Lauda Jerusalem by Vivaldi, where they captured the grandeur of the original setting for two antiphonal choirs.
Canon Fodder is a Blue Mountains quartet whose members share exceptional musical backgrounds, fine voices and a love of early music. Christine is a renowned folk musician, and is well known in the mountains, but we don’t often have the opportunity to hear her apply her dulcet tones to classical music. Rebecca Daniel trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and her stellar career as a violinist began with classical quartets in England and Australia and more recently has included the role of orchestra leader for major commercial productions of musicals in Sydney. Henrik Eneberg trained as an opera singer at the Malmö Conservatorium of Music and at Birkbeck College in London and took several leading roles with opera companies in London before recently moving to Australia where he enjoys teaching and directing singing. Rowen is best known to us as a choral conductor and Phoenix Choir’s musical director, and he is also an up and coming composer who recently premiered his new opera, Chang’E and the Moon.
Phoenix Choir and Canon Fodder performed their Magnificat concerts at St Hilda’s Anglican Church Katoomba and at the Blackheath Baptist Church.