New Amsterdam Singers

A month ago or so, somebody wrote me. They had been looking for information on El Nino by John Adams, came across my account of it, noticed that I was now living in New York, and suggested that I check out the New Amsterdam Singers, where a friend of theirs sang. Intrigued, I checked out the website, noticed they had a concert of Renaissance music coming up, and went to go see it last night.

It was lovely. I was very impressed with the chorus. It was bigger than I expected for an a cappella classical chorus, at about 70 singers, but very good. I’d gone to see another chorus earlier this spring and was very disappointed because I’m a snob, so it was great to see a chorus that was unified in tone, with great diction, who actually looked up from their music, etc. It’s definitely a group I would consider singing with if I had time to join a chorus.

I was also impressed with the repertoire choices. I sang in various a cappella chamber choruses for something like ten years of my life, so I’ve done a lot of the standard repertoire, yet I had only sung one piece on the program. Coming in, I had been most excited to see the Victoria Salve Regina, as Victoria is one of my favorite composers, but that piece didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Fortunately, there was a lot of other great music on the program, including a couple Handl motets, Senfl’s Ave Maria, gratia plena, Tomkins’s When David Heard, and the concluding Buxtehude Missa Brevis. So definite props to Clara Longstreth, the conductor, for finding interesting music in a space I thought I knew well.

P.S. I was sitting in the concert last night, and realized that the past ten months is the longest I have gone without singing in a chorus since my junior year of high school, when I first joined a chorus. I definitely missed it last night. Getting to do something right-brained regularly was good for me.

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