Aurora IV is a New Zealand-based male vocal ensemble focussing on repertoire for alto, two tenors and a bass. They have recently released their debut self-titled EP (extended play recording) consisting of 7 tracks, with music ranging from the Renaissance to the present day.
The ensemble was formed in 2017 and features Toby Gee (counter-tenor), Richard Taylor & Julian Chu-Tan (tenors) and Simon Christie (bass). Between them, the four singers have performed in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Europe. Their EP was recorded in the reverberant acoustic of St Paul’s Cathedral in Wellington, and was produced by David Houston.
We asked the group’s founder, Simon Christie, to tell us a little about the ensemble and the music they perform.
SC: The idea of Aurora IV came to me a few years ago when I discovered a bunch of Renaissance pieces for these voice parts. The Lassus Requiem, the first movement of which features on the EP, is actually a piece I’ve been inspired by for many years. It was kind of a dream to be able to perform this piece. So that was the real catalyst, I think, for putting this ensemble together.
SC: We perform classical music across many centuries. Our main focus is Renaissance music, because it’s just so sumptuous. We also perform the music of contemporary English composer Andrew Smith, who has written specifically for these voice parts, adopting motifs from Renaissance music. So it’s utterly ideal and a delight for us to include both Renaissance and modern pieces in our repertoire. And we also sing music in between. For example, you’ll hear the well-loved folk song “She Moved Through the Fair” on our Aurora IV EP.
SC: We’ve actually done a range of concerts over the last few years where a lot of the audience are people who have never heard choral music – certainly not with this combination before. They tend to love the meditative aspect of the music. Aside from the beauty of the music, there is a richness to it because of the vocal register and ensuing harmonics. Julian is even able to produce Mongolian harmonic overtones, which is extraordinary to listen to. You hear this in the last verse of “She Moved Through the Fair.”
SC: You can find our music on most music streaming services such as Spotify, Google Play, Napster, Deezer and Tidal. Or you can visit our website to hear more: https://www.aurorafour.com/recordings.html