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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


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Best of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir
1. Belmont – Hymn (By Cool Siloam’s Shady Rill) [4.12]
(adapted by Webbe: arr. Roberton)
2. Peat-fire Smooring Prayer (from ‘Songs Of The Hebrides’) [4.22]
(Kennedy-Fraser: trans. Macleod; arr. Roberton)
3. Ae fond kiss (3.24] (Burns; arr. Roberton)
4. Bonnie Dundee (Trad.; arr. Roberton) [2.05]
5. Orlington (Psalm Tune) (Campbell; arr. Roberton) [4.04]
6. An Eriskay Love Lilt (from ‘Songs Of The Hebrides’) [3.52]
(Kennedy-Fraser: arr. Roberton)
7. Ca’ the Yowes (Burns: arr. Roberton) [3.00]
8. The Dashing White Sergeant (arr. Roberton) [2.02)]
9. Crimond (Scottish Psalm Tune) (Grant) [3.42]
10. Hark, Hark The Echo Falling (Rothery: di Lasso; ed. Benson) [2.03]
11. The Blue Bird (Stanford; Coleridge) [3.18]
12. Ellan Vannin (Dear Isle Of Man) (Green; Townsend) [3.20]
(Faux Bourdon by Roberton)
13. All In The April Evening (Roberton; Tynan) [3.48]
14. White Waves On the Water (Roberton; Plumfield) [2.47]
with piano accompaniment
15. Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring (J.S. Bach; Allen) [3.24]
16. The Cloud Capp’d Towers (Choral Album No.19) (Stevens) [2.10]
17. The Faery Song (from ‘The Immortal Hour’) [1.25]
(Boughton; MacLeod)
18. (a) Far Away (Londonderry Air) (Trad; arr.Jozé; Sigerson) [4.08]
(b) The Old Woman (Roberton; Campbell]
19. Go Lovely Rose (Thoman; Waller) [2.35]
20. O Can Ye Sew Cushions? (Lullaby) (Trad.; arr. Bantock) [3.21)
21. Iona Boat Song (Trad.; arr.Roberton) [2.43]
22. Mice And Men (Set To The Psalm Tune ‘Desert’) [2.11]
(Trad.; arr. Roberton)
23. Kedron (Roberton) (2.57)
24. In Silent Night (Brahms: Rothery) (2.38)
25. All Through The Night (Trad.; arr. Roberton) (3.03)
Glasgow Orpheus Choir/Sir Hugh Roberton
rec. AAD. Mono. Transfers from pre-1952 LPs and 78s?
REGIS RRC1280 [76:47]



Famed for their soft, smooth and sweetly sustained singing, the Glasgow Orpheus was founded in 1901 and continued until 1951. Out of their ashes sprang the Glasgow Phoenix Choir which remains in existence. The founder of the Orpheus was Sir Hugh Roberton (1874-1952).
 
Much of the selection here is warm, slow and poetic. Crimond, Orlington and Belmont (trs. 9, 5, 1) are good examples. The choir’s recorded catalogue quite naturally plays to their strengths and to the gallery. However there are some vigorous display pieces and they are brightly characterised: try Bonnie Dundee and The Dashing White Sergeant. They are not in the majority though. Amongst the loveliest tracks here is Stanford's The Blue Bird (tr. 11) which ironically is here given with stronger rhythmic fibre than you may be used to. All the choir’s signature tracks are here, including All in the April Evening (tr. 13). A slightly pockmarked recording of White Waves on the Water (tr. 14) is given with piano accompaniment and in a noticeably harder acoustic than the other pieces. The piano also puts in another appearance for Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring. Continuing the Celtic vein we have The Faery Song from Rutland Boughton's opera The Immortal Hour. This is extremely well done with much accenting and colour in a work often treated to a moonlit bleached dove-grey - pity's it's so short. Nice to see that one of Bantock's landslide of arrangements appears at O Can Ye Sew Cushions? (tr. 20).
 
Choir fanciers starting out on an Orphean collection would do very well to start here. Regis do not provide the words but one of the manifest virtues of the choir is their balance of enunciation with the avoidance of pedantry. Peter Avis's seven page note will tell you all the essentials and more. The technical aspects have been lovingly handled. The only real criticism is the surfeit of the smooth and the dreamy - but that's the recorded legacy of the Glasgow Orpheus. Not for night-time driving but certainly a gentle curve into slumber sweet. Another astutely done winner from Regis.
 
Rob Barnett
 



 


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