One of the finest I have heard
A most joy-inducing
A winning partnership
A Lohengrin to
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Sølvguttenes Favoritter George Friedrich HANDEL (1685-1759)
Zadok the Priest [6.12] ANONYMOUS
Alta Trinita Beata [2.00] Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Verleih Uns Frieden [5.25] TRADITIONAL arr. David WILLCOCKS (1919-2015)
Å, kom nå med lovsang [4.16] Christopher TYE (c.1505-1573)
Laudete Nomem Domini [1.52] Gabriel FAURE (1845-1924)
Sanctus from Requiem) Op.48 [3.24] Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Hvad est du dog skjøn [4.09] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Jesus bleibet meine freude, BWV 147/7[3.31] Kurt NYSTEDT (1915-2014)
Laudate [1.43] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Ave Verum Corpus [3.06] Gabriel FAURE
Cantique de Jean Racine, Op.11 [5.47] George Friedrich HANDEL
Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah [4.05] Felix MENDELSSOHN
Psalm 42 – Wie der Hirsch schreit [6.19] Traditional arr. Per Steenberg (1870-1947)
Deilig er jorden [3.13]
Otto Christian Odland (organ)
Frida Fredrikke Waaler Wærvågen (cello)
Bjarne Magnus Jensen (violin)
Tormod Åsgård (trumpet)
Runar Jansen (trumpet)
Haakon Hille Hustad (baritone)
rec. Sofienberg Church, Oslo, 11-13 September 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1113 [58.54]
This is a CD which will give enjoyment, especially to those who enjoy the sound of boys’ voices, though few of the performances would be first choices in the chosen repertoire.
A little research tells us that Sølvguttene (The Boys of Silver) was founded in Oslo in 1940. It has around 25 young boys, but numbers can increase to 90 when supplemented by older voices, mainly former members of the choir. In Norway, it broadcasts regularly, as it has from its inception. There have only been two conductors since the choir’s inception, the founder, Torstein Grythe (1918-2009) and Fredrik Otterstad, who took over in 2004.
The present CD is not their first, but collects favourite pieces. Almost all are very familiar – ‘Å, kom nå med lovsang’ is a Norwegian translation of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, and most other pieces will be instantly recognisable.
If I have a reservation, it is about a degree of hesitancy in the interpretation. Zadok the Priest makes an interesting study. In this performance, articulation and pronunciation are both excellent, and yet … there is something missing in the attack – a lack of the urgency found in the best performances. I noted the same elsewhere. Perhaps the conductor feels unable to push the boys too far or too hard. The piece I enjoyed most was the Grieg, ‘Hvad est du dog skjøn’, partly because it is less familiar, but also for the arrangements and the elegant, light baritone of Haakon Hille Hustad. I liked very much Nystedt’s Laudate, an a capella setting, which reveals very well the gifts of the choir.
The accompanying booklet, in Norwegian and English, is not very informative about the choir, but says more about the other performers. Texts are given in original languages, but without translations.
Overall, then, this is an enjoyable sampler of a group which is very significant in Norwegian musical life.