Cornwall ensemble Levowan spellbinding at St Andrew’s lunchtime recital

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Levowan might be one of Cornwall’s smaller, and certainly newest vocal ensembles, but it kept its large audience spellbound with almost an hour’s uninterrupted singing, as part of the ongoing Lunchtime Recital Series at St Andrew’s.

Under Musical Director Marcus Alleyne it presented a varied and most entertaining programme of familiar, and less well-known pieces, with a great variety of textures, from lush full harmony-singing, to simple unisons, and much more in between.

Most of the featured repertoire favoured the more plaintive and expressive end of the dynamic range, but when a full-bodied sound was called for, there was plenty of volume in reserve to accommodate this, but without any forced roughness in tone production. The vocal blend was good, too, with no voice unduly dominating the sound-stage, and diction was carefully and clearly enunciated, both in slower-moving tempi, and in the highly-effective accelerando at the end of Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs.

While pianist Mark Smith – who did a really accomplished job of accompanying the singers throughout – was occasionally able to coordinate some of the entries and tempo changes with a spare hand, there was no conductor as such at the front, with Marcus here preferring to sing with the choir.

This makes today’s achievement all that more impressive, and even more so when their regular quota of just twelve voices was one man short on the day.


Philip Buttall

Philip Buttall

Philip R Buttall was the Classical Music Writer at Plymouth Herald from 1997-2017. He is a sought-after piano teacher, composer and arranger, and online concert and CD reviewer. Further information and contact details are available at www.philiprbuttall.co.uk
Philip Buttall