VOX is Sydney Philharmonia Choir’s Young Adult choir. The choristers range in age from 18–30 and, led by the inspiring Elizabeth Scott, they specialise in contemporary repertoire, from newly commissioned works to corporate events to film soundtracks. This, their first concert in 2021, featured music from rich choral tradition of the Baltic region, centred around Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Messe.

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs VOX Berliner Messe. Photograph © Rebecca Sawyer

The Berliner Messe, which dates from 1990, was performed here in the revised 1997 version for chorus and string ensemble. While the individual choristers still stood apart from one another, in accordance with COVID safe plans, they gave voice to Pärt’s music as one, building monumental blocks of sound as solid and impermeable as the great pillars of rough-hewn sandstone surrounding them in St Andrew’s Cathedral. This, against the transparent layers of sound from the string ensemble, coalesced into a rich outpouring of faith.

For this concert performance, the ensemble included the two Alleluliasand the V eni Sanctum Spiritumwritten for the celebration of Christmas and Pentecost. They were a welcome addition, particularly as...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.