Chanticleer, the a cappella men's chorus from San Francisco, is deservedly celebrated for the purity and precision of its singing and for the versatility of its repertoire, the 12 members impersonating with equal conviction ascetic medieval monks and rambunctious barbershop quartets. It probably doesn't hurt that they're clean-cut, all-American types. The group, founded in 1978 and named after the "clear-singing" Chaucerian rooster, has a blend of voices, from bass to countertenor, that allows plenty of flexibility in styles, textures, and emotional payoffs. The program for the group's Orchestra Hall debut is characteristically diverse: the oldest piece is "Quam pulchra es" by John Dunstable, followed by the usual quota of Renaissance madrigals, modern songs (three selections from Hindemith's Six Chansons and Poulenc's "Chanson a boire"), barbershop quartets, spirituals, and pop songs. Also included are commissions from three women composers: "The Rub of Love," a lively setting of a Greek lyric poem by Augusta Read Thomas; "Grass," an exotic parting song by the Chinese-born Chen Yi; and "The Old, Old Song," a nostalgic ballad by Jean Belmont. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nita Winter.