In October 2016, Michelberger Music decided to do something a little different at their music festival in Berlin. A few luckily audiences members were “kidnapped” over the course of the festival — they were told it might be happening, don’t worry — and they were treated to a surprise one-to-one concert. Although this particular concert was a little more than that. It wasn’t just one-on-one, but an entire music ensemble to one. Damien Rice, who would be enough of a treat on his own, teamed up with Cantus Domus for a breathtaking 10-minute performance. Cantus Domus is a choir who performed acapella with Rice, although calling them background music would be an insult. Their music creates an exquisite wall of sound and, toward the second half of the performance, they take over and show the power that ensemble choir music can bring.
Everything fits together perfectly. The empty room, the single audience member, even the grainy black-and-white video — and, of course, the sound of the choir which feels like it’s transporting you to another era. Although Damien Rice does more than hold his own. As he sings “It Take A Lot To Know A Man”, the words take on even more meaning in such a dramatic setting. You can see the entire performance here:
There’s no doubt that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for that lucky audience member. Even an entire ensemble of singers seem intimate and nuanced in certain spaces. This experiment brings out another side to Rice’s music and shows off the epic voices of Cantus Domus.