“The performance intermingled music with scenes that illustrated love in many forms: playful, despairing, cynical, combative and seductive.
“There was excellent balance between the five singing voices and a nice variation in mood as the ensemble moved from the sweetness of Palestrina’s Vestiva I Colli, a wistful expression of love in springtime, to the outrageous Je Ne Menge Point de Porc, complete with porky grunts, and on to the spiritual O Nata Lux by Tallis. David Yardley’s rollicking rendition of Bryng us Home Good Ale was a temptation to clap and toe-tap along and there were well-controlled changes of rhythm and mood in Thomas Morley’s Farewell Disdainful.”
A lovely review from Len Power of the Canberra Critics Circle of The Polyphonic Bard, which featured PSC regulars Ian Blake, Paul Eldon and David Yardley, and welcomed guest artists Daniel Sanderson and John Virgoe.
“the five men of The Pocket Score Company thrilled with their intricate harmonies and choice of music. Commencing with ‘If Music Be The Food Of Love’ from ‘Twelfth Night’, set to music by Henry Purcell, they followed with works by Thomas Tallis, Claudio Monteverdi, Giovanni Palestrina, Thomas Morley and others.”
Cathy Bannister from “Stage Whispers” reviews The Polyphonic Bard:
“The Pocket Score Company all-male ensemble is superb, and has particular strengths at the bottom (bass Ian Blake) and top, with countertenor and harpist David Yardley’s beautiful clear voice providing perfect balance to the rich harmonies. We were treated to Purcell (including the favourite If Music Be the Food of Love), Tallis, Palestrina and Monteverdi. Variously using only two, three, four, or all five voices, they easily filled the room with beautiful resonance.”
The Polyphonic Bard reviewed by Joe Woodward in the Canberra City News:
“The vocal effect is truly stunning. The voices blend so well that, in an age of digital enhancement, it was bliss to realise the power of human sound crafted through an ancient art form. Apart from some pre-recording of the final piece, it was live and perfectly balanced.”
Frank McKone of the Canberra Critics Circle on The Polyphonic Bard:
“For the young students of the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art, the top-quality 5-part singing of the Pocket Score team – David Yardley (countertenor), Paul Eldon (tenor), John Virgoe (tenor), Daniel Sanderson (baritone) and Ian Blake (bass) – provides a model for them to aspire to. They have a long way to go at this point in their quest, but this public performance is an important step along the way.
“Once upon a time, when I trained young people for tertiary training auditions, requiring a Shakespeare piece, of course, I used to explain how 5- or even 8-part singing took place in the pubs of London in Shakespeare’s day, and how those complexities of rhythm, harmony and stress patterns underlie the poetry of Shakespeare’s words. These CADA students are lucky enough to learn in practice, from the Pocket Score Company, what I could only explain to my trainees.”
The Pocket Score Company formed to bring the beautiful but rarely-heard sound of the all-male vocal ensemble to Australian audiences—mainly in early music, but with the flexibility to explore music from across the centuries, including works written especially for the group. We look forward to seeing you at a Pocket Score Company performance soon!