Lammas has produced here a deeply impressive disc of works for
treble voices. Recorded in the aptly reverberant acoustic of
Ampleforth Abbey, a range of works from Mendelssohn to Britten
showcase the boys’ outstanding singing, with good intonation,
excellent enunciation and persuasive communication of the spirit
of the pieces.
disc commences with Britten’s moving Missa Brevis in D.
This is beautifully sung, and admirably accompanied by Bednall.
The soloists Ned Berry, Daniel Macklin and Harry New are tremendously
expressive in the Gloria, the Sanctus is performed
with great confidence and proficiency, and the Agnus Dei
in particular is brilliantly atmospheric. Their enunciation
White is the main soloist, taking on all the solos apart from
those mentioned in the Britten. He has a gorgeously rich – and
surprisingly mature, deep and dark - tone for a treble, and
is extremely competent. I love the rolled “r"s (particularly
noticeable in the “presence” of Be still, for the presence
of the lord).
disc presents a nice selection of works, and a pleasing range
from the very well known to the unknown, including some rather
good pieces by the director, Malcolm Archer in an accessible,
popular, Rutter-esque vein, John Ireland’s haunting Ex ore
innocentium, Leonard Blake’s uplifting hymn And now another
day is gone and concludes with Dyson’s stunningly beautiful
Nunc Dimittis in D. Some works are a little candy-floss-y
– The Song for a young Prophet, for example – something
that may put some people off, but this doesn’t necessarily detract
from the disc as a whole. I felt that the fairly leisurely rendition
of Fauré’s famous Pie Jesu was very carefully performed
for maximum musical effect and sound rather than endowed with
honest sentiment. The singing seem to smack of a very hard attempt
at sounding poignant and moving, and one wondered whether the
boys were actually taking note of the words they were singing.
is some exceptional ensemble singing from the boys on this disc,
combining good clarity and precision. The organ accompaniment
is sympathetic throughout, and the direction of Malcolm Archer
has produced excellent results. Although I would personally
find it too heavy-going and sickly to listen to the whole disc
at one sitting, I would definitely recommend this to anyone
who appreciates church music or is a fan of treble voices.