REVIEW: Resound Male Voices @ Chapel Royal

Brian Butler July 2, 2024

Resound Male Voices are not a ‘belt it out, blood and guts’ choir, so the 18th century intimacy of Brightons Chapel Royal was a perfect sounding board for their summer concert of delights and surprises.

Under the direction of Sam Barton, the 11-strong group were just that – strong – with lots of soloists and groups to show off individual talents.

There Is A Meeting was not your usual rumbustious Gospel song, but an a capella dream – happy clappy in the best of ways.

Serenade Italienne belied its title – being in French – a tranquil ballad where the rolling waves of the sea were heard in Claire Williams delightful piano accompaniment- and she was a striking support throughout the night.

Here was Resounds hallmark – beautifully controlled tonal quality and rich harmonies.

Dulaman was an unaccompanied Irish love song, apparently about seaweed, with a confident solo by Keri Davies and a choral response from the ensemble, reminiscent of medieval chant.

The Blowers Daughter was a haunting lament, with soloist  JJ Thurlow-Criss accompanied by violin, guitar and cello. Life goes easy on me,was the theme and well delivered.

Paul Simons Only Living Boy In New York was laid back, tuneful and sung on the chapel steps as a quartet.

Brightonian Basil Richmonds new composition Valediction was fiendishly challenging – we got two of its eight movements and I really want to hear more of it. Its a tribute to those who died with HIV/AIDS. Its harmonies and emotional rendition were movingly performed. Visions and Dreams had a lush, rich quality – again fiendishly hard to sing, but filling the chapel with a glorious sound as a finale to part one.

In part two, the choir seemed on more confident ground and it had a lighter touch to it.

Fire was an explosive, exciting rollercoaster ride of sounds and rhythms, including shrieks, shouts and belly laughs – a brilliant piece that showed how virtuosic and adventurous this group can be.

Drill Ye Tarriers Drill was a typical workmens rhythmic song of the American railroad, but with Irish roots – as they joyfully sang work all day for the sugar in your tay.

Choir director Sam Barton sang with confidence and scary high notes in the solo of Benjamin Brittens Nocturne.

David Farrer and Barry Heywood gave us Paul McCartneys sad lovelorn For No-One, and did it with skill and the right level of melancholy.

Then it was fun time with a boisterous Britney song Toxic, full of drama – and they wore her mantle well.

There was more melancholy in Homeward Bound and End Of The World – depicting the sad happiness of an affair thats over.

And an encore of course – the very very silly Seaside Rendezvous – complete with kazoos and a Swanee whistle.

And we were done – all too soon, but a great concert by this adventurous group who never disappoint.

Learn more about Resound Male Voices here: