Ernest Liotti and the DaCamera Singers presented a concert of choral chamber music last night at Loyola College that revealed peculiarly American qualities. In a program devoted to American choral music from colonial times to the present, traits such as directness, informality, and sturdiness continually reappeared.
Three hymn tunes arranged by Thomson, Copland, and Shaw demonstrated this well. The simple settings never interfered with the plain-spoken religious sentiments they expressed. This group of songs also showed the singers at their best. Diction was clear. Entrances were precise and clean. Liotti's unfussy conducting got the job done with simple eloquence.
Samuel Barber's "Reincarnations" were almost as effective. The second song, "Anthony O Daly," was particularly beautiful.
Two works by local composers received their Baltimore premiere. Scott Pender's "Bestiary," sung by soprano Susan Pelter and ably accompanied by John Schillingberg, was well-crafted and continued attractive melodies. As a whole, these songs didn't quite match the whimsical nature of Ann Sexton's verse.