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The King's Singers - Live At The BBC Proms

King's Singers
Release Date: 12/09/2008 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 5  
Composer:  Francis PoulencJohn McCabeOrlando de LassusPierre Passereau,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE KING’S SINGERS—LIVE AT THE BBC PROMS & King’s Singers SIGNUM VISION 5 (DVD: 71:15) Live: London 8/5/2008


POULENC Chansons françaises. McCABE Scenes in America deserta. JANEQUIN La guerre. LASSUS Dessu la marché d’Arras. Toutes les nuitz. Read more PASSEREAU Il est bel et bon. HOBBS Philis is my only joy. BRIDGE The Goslings. SULLIVAN The Long Day Closes. TRAD The Little Green Lane. Greensleeves. Blow Away the Morning Dew. The Turtle Dove. Widdicombe Fair


& Interviews with the singers. Audition by Gareth Malone. “Some glimpses of the past.” Biography of The King’s Singers


I remember it as being rather warm sitting in the jam-packed Senate House of Cambridge University that June evening in 1968. Though they had already done a few gigs, they were still officially choral scholars at King’s College and, as I recall, they called themselves “The King’s Men” or “The King’s Scholars,” but the word on the floor was that these guys were heading off to London the next day to turn pro. During the concert, one could see why. And it must have been rather warm standing in the Royal Albert Hall in London that August evening in 2008, as the King’s Singers sang a late-evening Prom concert in their 40th anniversary season. During the concert, one could see why the group has lasted so long: a good format, obvious pleasure in singing together, and first-class musicianship. They weren’t the same six men, of course, but the astonishing thing is how slowly the personnel of the group mutated into today’s ensemble. In 40 years, there have only been 20 men who have sung in this sextet. Though they have had predecessors, The Master Singers, for instance (of the unforgettable “Weather Forecast”), come to mind, and though they have spawned many, short-lived, imitations (an exception being the Hilliard Ensemble), they have been consistently able to renew themselves. This is due in part to excellent musicianship and in part to well-thought-out programming.


This concert, like most of their recitals (including the one 40 years ago), begins with a serious section and ends with lighter things. The six (of eight) Chansons françaises of Poulenc are a good preface to the performance of John McCabe’s Scenes in America deserta , a complex and difficult color piece written for the King’s Singers. This piece, based, oddly enough, on an architectural study by Peter Reyner Banham, can only succeed because of the clarity and exactness of the tuning here. The following speedy multilayered rhythms of Janequin’s well-known war chanson make a good contrast, and these sorts of Renaissance pieces have long been a staple of the group’s repertoire. In one of the interviews attached to this DVD, the countertenor David Hurley notes that the Victorian parlor songs that follow had been a part of the early programming of the original sextet but had disappeared and were now being reintroduced. English folk-song arrangements, on the other hand, two of them here by former members, have always been a part of their programs. The Sullivan part-song is the encore, and makes an apt finish to an entertaining program. Indeed, entertainment is the key to their success: without ignoring ongoing scholarship, they wear their knowledge lightly and have technique to burn.


Neither of the two differing timings Signum gives for this CD is correct: that above reflects the concert and the extras. There is a rather obvious edit around 44:00, just before and, again, after the Hobbs, because one item on the program was deleted from the DVD and the order rearranged. (This piece, Rogers’s Hears not my Phyllis , appears on the CD version of this concert.) The brief appearance of Gareth Malone needs a word of explanation for North American audiences: Malone is a young choral conductor who formed a choir at a boys school in Leiscester, which had never had a choir before and, in nine months, got it good enough to represent Britain at the Beijing Olympics. The result was well-deserved fame and two short, popular, television shows called “The Choir” and “Boys Don’t Sing.” His appearance was not meant as a serious audition, but he does get to sing a few measures with the Singers and gets a few words of (most useful) advice. Nothing of this gets in the way of this enjoyable program, which is a master class in good ensemble singing and comes highly recommended.


FANFARE: Alan Swanson


Language: English
Region: All Region
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time 62 Minutes
Format: Color; Dolby Surround AC-3 Sound
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Works on This Recording

1.
Chansons françaises (8): no 6, La belle si nous étions by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; France 
2.
Chansons françaises (8): no 2, La belle se siet au pied de la tour by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
3.
Chansons françaises (8): no 4, Clic, clac, dansez sabots by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
4.
Chansons françaises (8): no 3, Pilons l'orge by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
5.
Chansons françaises (8): no 7, Ah! mon Beau Laboureur by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
6.
Chansons françaises (8): no 8, Les tisserands by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; France 
7.
Scenes in America Deserta by John McCabe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986 
8.
Dessus le marche d'Arras, chanson for 6 voices, B. xi/105 (S. xvi/152) by Orlando de Lassus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
9.
Il est bel et bon by Pierre Passereau
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; France 
10.
Toutes les nuitz by Orlando de Lassus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1563; Munich, Germany 
11.
Escoutez tous gentilz "La bataille de Marignan; La guerre" by Clément Janequin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; France 
12.
Hears not my Phyllis by John Rogers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
13.
Phillis is my only joy by John William Hobbs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
14.
The Little Green Lane by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
15.
The Goslings by Frederick Bridge
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
16.
Greensleeves by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
17.
Blow away the morning dew by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
18.
Turtle dove by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Written: USA 
19.
Widdicombe Fair by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Written: Devon, England 
20.
Partsongs (7): no 6, The long day closes by Arthur Sullivan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; England 

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