7 December 2019
Review by Elizabeth Bouman for the Otago Daily Times

The Southern Consort of Voices, directed by Daniel Kelly, presented a programme of Yuletide motets, antiphons and carols in St Pauls Cathedral on Saturday.
A good-sized audience attended, relaxing to absorb exquisite blends of vocal a cappella created by this choir of 20.
Among the opening bracket in German language were two pieces by Mendelssohn, Frohlocket and Denn Er hat seinen Engeln befohlen, and Maria durch ein Dornwald ging, an old German carol with refined dynamic contrast set in eight parts (Stefan Claas).
A beautiful lullaby in Danish was Sænk kun dit hoved, du blomst by Neilson – soft and gente with soprano over undulating harmonic fabric. The cathedral venue is so ideal for this vocal group and every number was gilded with extra beauty by the vastness of the performance space. Kelly has great control of his singers and an ear for continual balance of tone, creating particularly effective release and “fade outs”.
Latin Motets by New Zealand composer David Childs – Salve Regina, O Nata Lux and O Magnum Mysterium – used a mixture of textures, from unison Gregorian chant to dense 8-part chords, creating wave after wave of harmony to echo through the cathedral.
The Shepherd’s Carol and Pilgrim Jesus by Bob Chilcott (member and arranger for the Kings Singers) were more contemporary, and dynamically and rhythmically demanding.
Rocking, a Czech carol arranged by Sir David Willcocks, had the melody subtly embedded in close harmony, then a contrast came with his use of staccato and syncopation in a French carol, Il est né.
The traditional Christmas tune In Dulci Jubilo, set in eight parts, and Hodie, Hodie, a lively piece with regular bell-like rhythm, ended an excellent recital.