"Cloudburst" by Eric Whitacre was first written for a school choir and inspired by witnessing a cloud-burst in the Mexican desert. Mix hand-bells, drums and a huge thunder sheet. Add clicking and clapping hands. Intersperse patterned layers of interwoven voices, sung with mesmerising complexity and energy and we were treated to a magical tour de force, which was a fitting conclusion to the first half of the concert. The exceedingly lengthy applause included whistles, and stamping feet and at least three times the conductor left the stage only to be recalled by the ongoing tumult. This was an exhilarating highlight.
After the interval, we watched as the Australian Voices filled the choir stalls, Morgan England Jones in a splendid silver gown joined the organist Phillip Gearing in the organ loft, and the statuesque Teddy Tahu Rhodes joined the orchestra.