Book of Proverbs/ Four Proverbs
Netherlands Radio Choir &
Philharmonic Orchestra/De Waart with soloists;
Argo Band/Michael Torke with Catherine Bott (soprano)
Decca 466 721-2 [52.11]
Michael Torke (b 1961) is an American 'semi-minimalist' who puts clarity
and easy communication top of his agenda. These jolly settings of biblical
proverbs are rather like old fashioned sermons for simple folk; the words
(the Dutch choir's diction is not quite immaculate) repeated in various
permutations until they are fully absorbed with, hopefully, their moral messages
It is very much a matter of taste; for mine it is all rather too bland and
similar in method and style, which palls. The musical method is (deliberately)
transparent and the mood unremittingly cheerful. But I think a choir would
find them engaging to sing and they would go down well in a concert situation,
though I found the eight sections of the Book of Proverbs too many to take
at a sitting.
Well put across, though a sharper acoustic might have been preferable for
the choir. Catherine Bott's cool delivery suits them better. The 12 track
timings are given but the (rather short) total timing is not revealed until
you do your sums!
Others may well rate these compositions more highly and I would not criticise
them for so doing.
Peter Grahame Woolf