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 www.heraldav.co.uk.
Copyright © 31 May 2000 Basil Ramsey,
Eastwood, Essex, UK
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