Vaughan Wil­liams:

BBC Music Magazine - - Choral & Song -

Earth and Sky Cho­ral works: Three Vo­cal Valses from the Songs of the Wrens; Three Gaelic Songs, The Air­men’s Hymn, etc Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospi­tal Chelsea/wil­liam Vann (pi­ano); Hugh Row­lands (or­gan)

Al­bion Records ALBCD 034 63:06 mins In this cho­ral recital Al­bion Records con­tin­ues its valiant mis­sion to un­earth un­fa­mil­iar Vaughan Wil­liams: 21 of these 22 pieces are first record­ings. The ear­li­est of them don’t ob­vi­ously pree­cho the achieve­ments of the ma­ture com­poser. The Three Vo­cal Valses from 1896 set po­ems by Ten­nyson. They lilt pleas­antly and have sweet har­monic touches, but are oth­er­wise in­nocu­ous. Sound Sleep, from seven years later, goes deeper emo­tion­ally, show­ing a sharper dra­matic re­ac­tion to Christina Ros­setti’s grave­yard med­i­ta­tion. A group of folk song ar­range­ments elic­its breezy, rhyth­mi­cally en­gag­ing per­for­mances from the Royal ★os­pi­tal singers. Bari­tone Thomas Stod­dart con­trib­utes a poignant solo in Old Folks at Home, al­though the exposed sec­tional writ­ing re­veals some slip­pery tun­ing, and a mix of ap­proaches to the use of vi­brato.

The most sub­stan­tial mu­sic comes in the clutch of sa­cred set­tings. In O Praise the Lord of Heaven, for dou­ble choir and semi-cho­rus, con­duc­tor Wil­liam Vann se­cures a vi­brantly pro­jected per­for­mance from his 20 singers. The hymn Lit­tle Clois­ter brings in­spir­it­ing uni­son singing from the con­sis­tently fine so­pra­nos.

The con­clud­ing Three Gaelic Songs show the Royal hospi­tal choir at its finest – sen­si­tive and heart­felt in the more re­flec­tive outer songs, perky and in­ci­sive in the rous­ing ‘Come Let Us Gather Cock­les’.

Wil­liam Vann’s con­duct­ing is both en­er­gis­ing and un­ob­tru­sive, and the sound is pleas­ingly nat­u­ral and well bal­anced. None of the mu­sic here is in­dis­pens­able Vaughan Wil­liams, but it has enough in­ter­est to more than jus­tify the record­ing. Terry Blain PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.