All the performances took place on stage yesterday afternoon in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. You can't always take it for granted that this will happen when the Paul Hill Chorale is performing; this group combines showmanship with musicianship at a very high level, and so often as not the audience is surprised to hear brass bands in the balconies or two or three sub-choruses scattered through the hall.
Yesterday, the showmanship took another form. Between Bach's motel, "Jesu, Meine Freude" and Bruckner's warm-hearted, ethereal Mass in E minor (more or less standard items in the choral repertoire), there was a long interlude of Renaissance music.
The Chorale's smaller chamber assemble was joined by richly costumed singers and instrumentalists from Musica Antiqua and the Dupont Consortium, beguilding the audience's eyes with stately dances, its ears and exotic instruments.
The effect almost amounted to two separate concerts, and in purely musidal terms (performance as well as content) the traditional one with Bach and Bruckner was somewhat more polished than the Renaissance program; the music was exquistic and big-ensemble power and richness but the fine balance and transparent sound of a chamber group. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
In the middle section, there was sometimes an uncomfortable contrast between the near-professional polish of the singers and the more amateur genialtiy of the olde musick specialists, but the program was well received, particularly a spectacular sword dance and Banchieri's. "Contrappunto Bestiale," which features a cuckoo, an owl, a dog and cat as soloists.