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BASIL RAMSEY listens to the Rodolfus Choir

Herald        HAVPCD 242

Record Box


By Special Arrangement. Favourite classics by Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Grieg and Schubert.  Copyright (c) 2000 Herald AV Publications and Rodolfus Choir Ltd.From the Swingle Singers era choral transcriptions became popular, but such hybrids eventually crept out as timidity crept back. The UK based Rodolfus Choir, an exceptionally fine group of young singers, has made several impressive CDs over about a decade and has now courageously gathered some tough nuts from other genres to sing in new arrangements. I would normally expect Delius' On hearing the first cuckoo to be choir-proof, but no longer. Whatever musical stance you take, to hear such chromatic textures melt from one to the next proves that translation from instruments to voices does no real harm to the music, although it is fatally easy to argue otherwise. The nice, final touch here is use of Wordsworth's Ode to the Cuckoo as text. [Listen, track 7, 00:00 - 00:46.]

The programme is widely spread, from Bach's Air on the G string to Mahler (one of the Rückert-Lieder), from Schubert's Litanei to Widor's Toccata (organ and voices, and arranged by David Willcocks no less). Puccini's gorgeous Crisantemi is as unexpected as the Dance of the Dragon Fly from 'Nutcracker'.

The overview has to be based on musicality. There is nothing in this programme that can sustain a charge of bad taste. The entire collection is arranged as a programme that can run straight through. Possibly nothing can upstage Widor's Toccata plus voices for a finale. But peaceful tracks can then remove the after effect.

Herald is a small British label much devoted to choral and church music Contact on


Copyright © 31 May 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK





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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews