THE ambitiously diverse source material of Christopher Tin’s The Drop That Contained The Sea could easily have resulted in jarring internal contrasts in its European premiere last Saturday.

Actually, the pan-cultural patchwork was surprisingly unified in musical terms – no mean feat, and a testament to Tin’s compositional skill.

However, the potentially problematic undertones of cross-cultural artistic ‘borrowings’ should not go unmentioned. Appropriating and arranging material from Xhosa, Lango, Indian, Mongolian, Japanese, Persian, Hebrew, Maori, Swahili, Turkish, Bulgarian (and more) cultures is an undertaking that should be approached with some caution.

Still, at this moment in time, the basic ideals of embracing and celebrating diversity and unity, so fundamental to Tin’s project – not to mention the tireless passion, warm sincerity, and sheer sense of happiness that the performers brought to the event – are to be welcomed.

Many of the soloists, notably, Jimmer Bolden and Benjamin Enright, from Los Angeles choir Angel City Chorale and York’s Prima Vocal Ensemble displayed serious talent, handling demanding material with assurance.

The concluding movements of the work made clear why Tin is a multi-award winning composer. Upper voice writing was haunting and hazy; in a sea of sweeping cinematic sounds, evocations of darkly sinister storms, rolling waves and foreboding clouds were shot through with sparkling lights in the high strings.

The final song, We Overcome The Wind, was an outpouring of joy; a unanimous standing ovation evinced the sense of togetherness at the heart of this concert.

Review by Claire McGinn