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How Can I Keep from Singing? / St. Paul's Boys' Choir


Release Date: 01/23/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics For Pleasure Catalog #: 75942   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Charles Hubert ParryNoel Howard TredinnickGeorge Frideric HandelGabriel Fauré,   ... 
Performer:  Richard MoorhouseEdmund Melik-MouradTom AppletonRichard Bannan,   ... 
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's ChoirCity of London Sinfonia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The boy trebles at a Cathedral like St. Paul’s have a very active musical life. In addition to the normal round of services sung with adult altos, tenors and basses, there are also occasions when the trebles perform on their own. To this end, the choir has built up a repertoire of suitable pieces for trebles alone.

This 1996 recording, with the choir directed by John Scott, displays the trebles in a programme of pieces either specially written for treble voices or arranged from other material. The result is a programme that is most definitely about the treble voice.

You might not always like all of the material on the disc and, more importantly, the various arrangements might not appeal, but there is no denying
Read more the superb quality of the treble voices.

The opening number, the Pie Jesu from Faure’s Requiem, is beautifully sung by soloist Anthony Way. I found it a little slow for my taste, but as an example of the art of the treble this could not be better. But you have to wait for the second track for the whole choir to sing. When they do, the results are spectacular, a fine sense of line, firm vocal tone and superb diction all combined into a thrilling whole.

But when singing John Rutter’s For the beauty of the Earth, you feel that this superb diction and disciplined line is not quite what this rather pop-inspired sacred song needs. Rutter’s piece is undeniably beautiful, but as sung here it rather outstays its welcome and you feel there is the nicest possible mismatch between the performers and their music.

Hubert Parry’s ‘Long since Egypt’s plenteous Land’ from Judith was a bit of a surprise. The melody was adapted to become the hymn tune Repton (‘Dear Lord and father of mankind’). As sung here, the original works very well but does slightly try the patience.

‘The Call’ from Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs is another surprisingly effective piece, with a lovely solo from treble Philip Martin. I felt that ‘The Lost Chord’ was performed too slowly, but John Scott’s arrangement of Sullivan’s popular song was ultimately very effective.

Stephen Oliver’s ‘How blest are they’ was used in the RSC’s production of ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ but it works very well on its own. It is not as immediately appealing as the Rutter piece, but I think that ultimately it is a subtler piece and is far more suited to the chorister’s style of singing.

Oliver’s Handelian pastiche is followed by some real Handel, ‘Let the bright Seraphim’ from Samson with the whole choir singing the solo part. Inevitably the speed is a little slower than I would like, but the choristers’ achievement is remarkable.

The next group of pieces is possibly the most successful on the disc. All are either folksongs or folksong-like pieces. They are performed in straightforward arrangements which show off the choir’s sense of line and superb diction. John Scott’s arrangement of ‘The Ash Grove’ is a prime example of this artless pleasure. But equally successful are Gordon Jacob’s version of ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ using the tune Brother James’s air, Julius Harrison’s rather lush arrangement of Vaughan Williams’s ‘Linden Lea’ and John Scott’s reworking of ‘Annie Laurie’.

The CD’s title track, ‘How can I keep from singing’ belongs to the same category though it was unfamiliar to me. The words and music are by the 19th century American divine Robert Lowry.

For ‘Lift thine eyes’ from Mendelssohn’s Elijah the whole choir sings the trio and the recording utilises the acoustic of St. Paul’s to magical effect.

Mark Blatchly’s ‘For the Fallen’ is a setting of Laurence Binyon’s words, which are read at the Remembrance Day commemorations. Blatchly’s piece was written for the St. Paul’s choristers. But though I felt that it was appealing, it seemed to be straining for a meaningfulness that it does not quite achieve. The final piece on the disc is more Rutter, this time his attractive little Gaelic Blessing.

The disc was produced partly in order to benefit the St. Paul’s Choir School Foundation, which receives a royalty for each copy sold. So if you are interested in hearing some superb singing from one of the finest groups of trebles in the UK, then this disc is for you, as long as you don’t worry too much about the repertoire.

-- Robert Hugill, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Judith: Long since in Egypt's plenteous land by Charles Hubert Parry
Performer:  Richard Moorhouse (Organ)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
2.
Like a mighty river flowing "Old Yeavering" by Noel Howard Tredinnick
Performer:  Edmund Melik-Mourad (Boy Soprano), Tom Appleton (Boy Soprano), Richard Bannan (Boy Soprano),
Simon Acott (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: John Scott.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
3.
Samson, HWV 57: Let the bright Seraphim by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Andrew Lucas (Organ), Crispian Steele-Perkins (Trumpet)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1743; London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
4.
Requiem, Op. 48: Pie Jesu by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Anthony Way (Boy Soprano), Andrew Lucas (Organ)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888 rev 1893; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
5.
For the beauty of the earth by John Rutter
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
6.
Mystical Songs (5): no 4, The call by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Philip Martin (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
7.
The Lost Chord by Arthur Sullivan
Performer:  Andrew Lucas (Organ)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; England 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: John Scott.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
8.
How Blest Are They by Stephen Oliver
Performer:  Richard Moorhouse (Organ)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
9.
The Ash Grove by Traditional
Performer:  Edmund Hill (Boy Soprano), Edward Burrowes (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Written: Wales, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: John Scott.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
10.
Brother James' Air by Gordon Jacob
Performer:  Oliver Winstone (Boy Soprano), Jeremy [Boy Soprano] Edwards (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
11.
Linden Lea by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Julius Harrison.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
12.
Annie Laurie by Lady John Douglas Scott
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: John Scott.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
13.
How can I keep from singing? by Traditional
Performer:  Connor Burrowes (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Length: 4 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: John Scott.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
14.
Elijah, Op. 70: Lift thine eyes to the mountains by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
15.
For the Fallen by Mark Blatchly
Performer:  Crispian Steele-Perkins (Trumpet), Richard Moorhouse (Organ)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; England 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 
16.
A Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter
Performer:  Andrew Lucas (Organ)
Conductor:  John Scott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  St. Paul's Cathedral Boy's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996); CTS Studios, Wembley, London, England (07/15/1996 - 07/17/1996) 

Sound Samples

Requiem Op. 48: IV. Pie Jesu
For the beauty of the earth
Long since in Egypt's plenteous land (from Judith)
Five Mystical Songs: 4. The Call (soloist in v.1 Philip Martin)
The Lost Chord
How blest are they (words from Psalm 128)
Like a mighty river flowing (soloists Simon Acott, Richard Bannan, Tom Appleton, Edmund Melik-Mourad)
Samson HWV57: Let the bright seraphim
The Ash Grove (soloists Edmund Hill, Edward Burrowes)
The Lord's my shepherd (Brother James' Air) (soloists Oliver Winstone, Jeremy Edwards)
Linden Lea - A Dorset song
Annie Laurie
How can I keep from singing? (soloist Connor Burrowes)
Elijah Op. 70 (highlights), Part II: Lift thine eyes (words after Psalm 121)
For the Fallen
A Gaelic Blessing (words adapted from an old Gaelic rune)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 The gentle spell of treble voices lead this rambl October 28, 2013 By Judith  Kellock (Ottawa, ON) See All My Reviews "Walk down leafy lanes ringing with birdsong through woodlands' pleasant places and you too cannot help but sing. Dip deep into the pools of nostalgia and refresh your mind, heart and memory." Report Abuse
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