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Once Were Angels - The Tradition Of Boy Trebles


Release Date: 05/27/2003 
Label:  Griffin   Catalog #: 4040   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan WilliamsTraditionalWolfgang Amadeus MozartFelix Mendelssohn,   ... 
Performer:  Andrew WicksPaul DuttonMichael GinnDara Carroll,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although this release will hold its maximum value for British listeners who for the past century have been closest to the recorded tradition of boy-soprano/treble-soloists cultivated primarily through Great Britain's long-established cathedral schools and choral institutions, anyone who appreciates these very special voices and their uniquely youthful sound and sensibility will enjoy this superb collection. This CD owes its existence to the work of Harry Mudd, an English pioneer in choir recordings, particularly in documenting the singing of boy treble soloists. His early efforts in this field fostered continued attention to the importance of the solo treble in English music and fortuitously captured many of the best of these singers for Read more posterity.

Although Robin Blaze--now a world-famous countertenor--is perhaps the best-known among the many names featured on this program, you won't forget Andrew Wicks in his warmly compelling "Linden Lea" (Vaughan Williams) or in his astonishingly proficient technical flourishes in Mozart's "Alleluia". Nor will you be less than thoroughly impressed by Paul Dutton's a cappella "I will give my love an apple" or his amazingly sophisticated treatment of Arthur Sullivan's "Orpheus with his lute". In fact, it's not only the technical accomplishment of these singers that you notice--especially breath and pitch control and the ability to execute ornaments and florid runs--but the mature musical/interpretive sensitivity that's consistently demonstrated through some of the repertoire's more demanding pieces.


While you're wondering about--and marvelling at--how such voices are created, developed, and blessed, you're enjoying selections such as Schubert's "Der Musensohn" (Andrew Wicks), Mozart's "Agnus Dei" (James Davis), Gibbons' "Drop, drop slow tears" (Robin Blaze), and Dara Carroll's a cappella "Lark in the clear air". Although fundamentally solid in its vocalism, Carroll's Pie Jesu (Fauré) is rendered with a tempo that's unreasonably slow, focusing our attention on note-to-note movement rather than on the all-important long, lovely, elegant phrases. But how can we not be impressed with Paul Dutton's "I know that my Redeemer liveth"--primarily with the fact that such a young singer can sustain this long, often tedious aria with such engaging sound and interpretive finesse!


The singers' subtlety of articulation and innate expressive sense are a constant source of pleasure, and even though the particulars of the recordings (made between 1964-1989) and venues result in varying perspectives and quality of atmosphere and balances, the overall impression we get is that the productions were centered on first-rate recording and musical values. Griffin was chosen by Mudd to issue this CD compilation, and the label has done an excellent job in bringing these 78 historic and consistently engaging minutes of treble solo music to life. One of the more amazing aspects of this recording is that the rendition of Mendelssohn's "O for the Wings of a Dove" (sung by Michael Ginn) is "the first time the anthem had been recorded by [the Temple Church choir] since its world-famous 1928 recording"--with the original soloist now a baritone, still in the choir, and with the same organist/choirmaster as appeared 54 years previously! This is a treasure on many levels, capped by informative notes and including priceless pictures of all the featured soloists.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Linden Lea by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Andrew Wicks (Treble)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
2. I will give my love an apple by Traditional
Performer:  Paul Dutton (Treble)
3. Alleluia in C major, K 553 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Andrew Wicks (Treble)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
4. Hear my prayer: O, for the wings of a dove by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Michael Ginn (Treble)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Germany 
5. The lark in the clear air by Traditional
Performer:  Dara Carroll (Treble)
Written: Ireland 
6. Der Musensohn, D 764/Op. 92 no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andrew Wicks (Treble)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
7. Shakespeare Songs (5): no 1, Orpheus with his Lute by Arthur Sullivan
Performer:  Paul Dutton (Treble)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863-1864; England 
8. Gloria in D major, RV 588: Laudamus te by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Paul Dutton (Treble)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
9. Jephtha, HWV 70: Happy, Iphis, shalt thou live by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Jeremy Bowyer (Treble)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1752; London, England 
10. Shepherd's Song, Op. 16 no 1 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Paul Dutton (Treble)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; England 
11. Requiem, Op. 48: Pie Jesu by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Dara Carroll (Treble)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888 rev 1893; France 
12. Skye Boat Song by Traditional
Performer:  Dara Carroll (Treble)
Written: Scotland 
13. Indian Queen, Z 630: Let us wander not unseen by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Christopher Smith (Treble), Andrew Brough (Treble)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1695; England 
14. Shakespeare Songs (5), Op. 23: no 1, Fear no more the heat by Roger Quilter
Performer:  Paul Dutton (Treble)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919-1921; England 
15. A grateful heart by Mary Plumstead
Performer:  Daniel Ludford-Thomas (Treble)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
16. Bible Songs (6), Op. 113: no 6, A Song of Wisdom by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Daniel Ludford-Thomas (Treble)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909 
17. Kleine geistliche Konzerte, Op. 8: Fürchte dich, ich bin mit dir, SWV 296 by Heinrich Schütz
Performer:  Michael Criswell (Treble)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1636; Germany 
18. Hark, hark! the lark by Robert Johnson
Performer:  Michael Criswell (Treble)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1609; England 
19. Requiem in D minor, K 626: Agnus Dei by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Davis (Treble)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
20. En prière by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Peter Davey (Treble)
21. Evening Hymn by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Peter Davey (Treble)
Period: Baroque 
Written: England 
22. Drop, drop, slow tears by Orlando Gibbons
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Treble)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
23. Mystical Songs (5): no 2, I got me flowers by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Treble)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
24. Messiah, HWV 56: I know that my redeemer liveth by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Paul Dutton (Treble)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 

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