The Adelfos Ensemble: A New England Christmas

One of the Top Choirs in Santa Barbara the Adelfos Ensemble is probably the least known. Under the masterful musical leadership of Temmo Korisheli, the group’s 16 beautifully blended voices presented an a cappella concert of music by New England composers at Trinity Episcopal Church last Saturday that was a perfection of programming interest and artistic execution. The nave should have been full to its rafters. Korisheli is a musician’s musician. He knows the bar line is meant to be destroyed, subservient to the transubstantiation of text. He understands the impact of tonality and phrasing. He is aware, being a scholar, cadences are much more than end points; they shape and color a composer’s emotional subtext. And Korisheli, nearly pious in his modesty, also comprehends the great promise of a program whose arc is intellectually stimulating.

On Saturday, Korishelli and his professional colleagues achieved all of these artistic aspirations and more, in a seasonal, but also incredibly satisfying, hour-long program of music by Ned Rorem, William Billings, Charles Ives, Samuel Barber, Randall Thompson, and others. Highlights included Rorem’s Shout the Glad Tidings (1978); Elizabeth Poston’s profoundly moving and magnificently realized Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (1967); and two works by Michael Eglin, Sweet Babe Wrapt in Twilight Shade (2009) and In Judah’s Land (2008). As encore, a superb arrangement of White Christmas.
About the Author: Daniel Kepl has been writing music, theatre, and dance reviews for Santa Barbara publications since he was a teenager. His professional expertise is as an orchestra conductor.