3 December 2018
Review by Elizabeth Bouman for the Otago Daily Times

The Southern Consort of Voices presented a Christmas concert in a well-filled St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday evening.
Musical director Daniel Kelly guided the a cappella group of 20 through a variety of Christmas and World War 1 numbers, opening with Ka Waiata ki a Maria, a popular contemporary work by Richard Punaki, which immediately revealed the resonant timbre of this choir, highlighted by solo lines from Clare Adams.
Salve Regina (David Childs) continued to impress with great attention to dynamic contrast, and the relaxed delivery of Ave Maris Stella (Stopford) captivated the beauty of sound and text.
A stunning arrangement (Stefan Class) of German traditional carol Maria durch ein Dornwald ging completed the bracket.
Works dedicated to those who fell in World War 1 included an elaborate harmonic arrangement of Abide with Me, and three works by Elgar.
A moving setting of his famous Nimrod theme Lux Aeterna was musically neat and sensitive, but the English text often became lost in the vastness of the Cathedral acoustics.
Ideal and melodiously spine-tingling was Lux et Spes, composed with simplistic text by consort bass Michael Winikoff, and performed by the ladies.
A small ensemble (violinists Sydney Manowitz, Rikke Kikkawa-McLeod and pianist Michael Winikoff) together with sopranos Catherine Daly Reeve and Naomi White, launched the Christmas repertoire with Elgar’s A Christmas Greeting. It was not ideal in the Cathedral venue, as the two voices lost prominence amidst the piano reverb.
However, later these soprano soloists excelled with pure tone and clarity over the Consort’s harmonic weave for O Salutaris Hostia. (Talented violinist Kikkawa-McLeod (17) contributed an unaccompanied Bach adagio).
A change of pace came with robust and fast-moving Christmas-themed arrangements of Karl Jenkin’s Gaudete and Nova! Nova! (Chilcott).
It is always exciting to hear new repertoire, and Kelly is to be commended for sourcing and perfecting such a variety of new choral arrangements, with informative programme notes for this excellent recital.