Reviews of the "CHICHESTER
PSALMS" (Leonard Bernstein) now available on Lammas records
Y R I C FM
G L O R I A - TIM THURSTON. PROGRAMME 26
SUNDAY , JULY 1st, 2001
we return now - as we so often do on Gloria - to the unique sound of
the unbroken voices of boys. There's an excellent English independent
label called Lammas who specialise in sacred music - we've featured a
number of their recordings in the past. A recent one is titled
Chichester Psalms - and Leonard Bernstein's fine work and Britten's
lovely Rejoice in the Lamb are given fine performances by the Choir of
Wells Cathedral. But I was particularly taken with the singing of
treble Robert Karlsson in Alan Ridout's Sacred Songs. Ridout was a
prolific composer in many genres - and had strong connections
throughout his life with various English Cathedral choirs. He wrote
his 3rd set of Sacred Songs for the choristers of Guildford Cathedral.
Tim Thurston ---0---
Martin Carson writes:
opening the CD one is struck immediately by the face of a smiling
Robert Karlsson on the back cover of the booklet. He looks exceedingly
happy, as well he might. This boy, who should have won the Chorister
of the Year competition once at least, has been given a vehicle to
demonstrate both his musical skill and his vocal beauty.
choir gives a very persuasive performance of the Chichester Psalms.
Those who have been seeking a new version will find that this offers
both vigour and calmness, fine choral singing and assured solo work
from a boy confidently at his peak. It is a pleasure to see
some of Alan Ridout's work being given an airing. Some of us remember
the days when the boys at Canterbury seemed always to keep these close
to hand. All seven songs are sung as solos by Robert Karlsson. They
are all very short. Only one exceeds two minutes, the rest barely last
longer than one.
fine food, judiciously provided, they leave one just a little hungry
for more. All the choral singing is exceptionally well-crafted which
will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Malcolm Archer's
musical career. It is no surprise also to find the name Barry Rose
(producer) associated with the record. Wherever there has been warmth
and joy in English cathedral choral singing, his name has been there
somewhere, often as Director. It is great to see that the interest
still lives on.Stanford's 'Songs' are well-known and oft-performed.
This rendition is serene, beautiful and not overburdened with vocal
remember a comment once by Barry Rose stating that he did not like his
choristers cluttered with too much of the latter. Serenity and beauty
were also hallmarks of St Paul's during his tenure. This track gives
an opportunity to mention a possible down-side of the CD, or rather of
Robert Karlsson's singing. Reading the many personal views and reviews
posted on various forums one is struck by how small is the variation
between voices or styles applauded or decried by reviewers.
is a style of singing in English Cathedrals which worships the
consonant. Robert Karlsson is a prefect practioner of this. While his
vowels are lovingly and expertly crafted, one is left in no doubt as
to the fact that every word is filled with consonants which his tongue
trips off with joy. Warning: if you do not like to hear the letter
'r', then you will not be comfortable with this CD. The whole choir is
at it too. I have put my cards on the table before (against them that
trouble me). Master Karlsson's consonants are unselfconscious,
unstrained and unparalleled perfection. I love them!
Te Deum is a clever and exciting piece of writing. The better one
knows it, perhaps the more one sings it - especially under the
direction of someone like Michael Nicholas (former Director of Music
at Norwich cathedral), the more one appreciates its attributes. It
needs tight but sympathetic choral singing, and an outstanding treble
soloist, to give the listener what Britten intended. Malcolm Archer's
team are equal to the task.
to Wells Cathedral Choir, to Robert Karlsson and especially to Malcolm
Archer with his assistant Rupert Gough. Thanks also to Lance Andrews
for bringing us this alluring CD - shame only that 66 minutes passes
all too quickly. Then again, I leave the table just a little hungry.
Cathedral Choir has established an international reputation through
its many recordings, broadcasts and tours. The choir, which sings the
daily services in the cathedral, has an extensive repertoire from all
historical periods. The music foundation at Wells consists of 18 boy
choristers and 18 girl choristers (two separate choirs) 9 vicars
choral, 3 choral scholars and 3 organists. The history of the choir is
as old as the building itself and records of the Vicars Choral go back
to 1136. It is known that there were boys singing in Wells even
earlier than that. In the fourteenth century, the Bishop provided the
choir with a proper income and built Vicars Close, a unique mediaeval
street which still exists today housing all the organists and choirmen.
In recent years the choir has included choral scholars who are either
gap year students or postgraduates who serve for one or two years.
choir regularly undertakes international tours and in recent years it
has visited Canada, the USA, France, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Singapore
and New Zealand. The Choir makes an average of two recordings each
year, and the Vicars Choral have also produced several recordings on
their own of both sacred and secular repertoire.