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Sounds Sublime

Sounds Sublime

There is a vast and glowing repertoire of vocal works written for two sopranos (or two equal voices), or which can be performed by two sopranos. Both Ingrid Heyn and Katrena Mitchell admit that this enticing repertoire isn't the sole reason for their having formed Sounds Sublime, but it's certainly one of the two major reasons that they're still singing together - this sheer pleasure of delving into this marvellous treasure chest of vocal delights.

Sounds Sublime was formed almost by accident. Having met at an eisteddfod, the two girls realised they were studying with the same teacher, and decided some time after to work together on a duet for presentation at another singing competition.

The result was overwhelming. They not only won the competition resoundingly, but received marvelling comments about their vocal blend. The blend is indeed something remarkable - their voices are quite different in colour, but share something of the same sensitivity and ability to shape the phrases. They are as adept with slow, plaintive duets as they are with firecracker-fast duets of extraordinary coloratura, and this too proved a bond between the two singers. The exquisite sound produced by their two voices in conjunction is a miracle among vocal ensembles.

Already aware of a large vocal repertoire available to their particular combination of voices, the two girls formed Sounds Sublime and began singing together professionally. Their continued delving into what repertoire was possible for their two voices released a vivid avalanche of material. An extraordinary amount of early music (Renaissance and baroque) was ideal for their voices, not to mention the wonderful duets by operatic composers of the classical period (Mozart and his contemporaries). There was a rich and delightful treasure-store of duets composed during the Romantic period, including some of the most transparent and beautiful duets by Impressionist and other French composers (Debussy, Massenet, Saint-Saens, Gounod), not to mention the substantial body of Italian and German duets that offer different and often spectacular challenges. Opera, cantatas, oratorios, art-songs and more form a staggering corpus of unutterably enchanting duet material.

A lifetime is hardly long enough to study and perform these remarkable pieces.

In addition to their duet work, both Ingrid Heyn and Katrena Mitchell perform as soloists - in operas, oratorios, operettas, recitals and other concerts.

Ingrid: “Singing with Katrena is a great artistic pleasure - she's so responsive to the musical demands of the pieces we perform, and is as dedicated as I am to finding the delicate nuances and detailed word-painting that can turn a piece of music from a quite pretty thing to something of extraordinary loveliness and emotional power. There is simply no musical challenge we won't tackle, and it's just as well that singing is a life-long love affair - the dedication we put into rehearsing repays itself only in the service of music itself. No one could adequately recompense us for that work, but then, we do it because we love both the act of singing and the glorious music itself. And with the amount of rehearsal involved in a duet esemble of this calibre, it's good that we get on well and have similar approaches to the music! Our vocal training has been long and arduous, and to be able to simply sing the notes is, in our opinion, only the start of gaining mastery over a piece of music. It's very much a case of responding to what the music is saying; one can't impose an external and rigid interpretation that clashes with the voice of the music. In all our performances, Katrena and I have always sought to find that inner kernel of truth and beauty within the music - the sound, the colours, the meaning of it, all combined into something that is more than the bare notes upon the page. We never forget that what we are doing is breathing life into the imagination and genius of composers often long dead, who cannot speak for themselves in any other way. We have to be faithful to their music - we give them immortality of a sort by doing this, and I think the whole universe shouts with joy at beautiful music beautifully performed. That has been and always will be our aim.”

Sounds Sublime perform at various venues, and have a huge vocal repertoire, usually accompanied by a piano or harpsichord, occasionally by classical guitar or by orchestra. They can be hired to perform together or as individual soloists.

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