Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I hope Libera tours in the US again soon and that they come to the south, maybe to Atlanta or Nashville. I can imagine them singing in Nashville with cowboy hats and rhinestones on their robes. Wouldn't that be funny? I’ll be there wherever and when ever they come.

The most unusual of Libera’s albums is the one from way back in 1999 that is simply titled Libera. These twelve songs have lyrics that have been adapted by Robert Prizeman and, for some, Ian Tilley. Prizeman composed the music for almost all of them, too.

The music for Sanctus is adapted from Pachelbel’s Canon and Te Lucis from Tallis’ Canon. Dies Irae is based on “Dies Irae, Dies Illa”.
The words of Mysterium are from the hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” (An ancient chant set to a French medieval folk melody) and Beta Lux from “How Shall I Sing That Majesty”. Prizeman also took a lot of Latin words from well known church songs.

There are not the familiar popular songs like I Vow To Thee My Country or Abide With Me that we hear a lot on later Libera CD’s but all of the songs are very beautiful and have those wonderful Libera harmonies that have become such a trademark of theirs.
Anyone familiar with their later albums will recognize the songs Salve Me and Sanctus and Libera, but Mysterium, Agnus Dei, Jubilate, Beata Lux, and the most of rest are unique to this collection.
Te Lucis reappears on the 2008 New Dawn album as Tallis’s Canon.

Some Cully and Horncastle fans may disagree but I think the soloists during this period, Liam O’Kane, Adam Harris, Steven Geraghty and Alex Baron, were the most talented and had the loveliest voices, at least until Ben Crawley came along. When I listen to this CD I find myself paying attention to the way the voices interact and to the things being sung in the background. It sounds very complex and is what makes Prizeman’s music so recognizable.

Sometimes I forget how great this CD is until I hear it again and then I wonder why I don’t play it more often.


  1. Of them all, I admit: I don't like Libera...not sure why--I feel like they REALLY messed up Jubilate (vs the old version), and the "airbrushedness" of the CD is a bit too technofied (look at all those Bushisms) for my taste--but I do agree overall and think their older stuff is better than it gets credit for: the Salva Me on Libera is peerless--the first track of theirs I heard, and it hasn't gotten old yet...

  2. It is so nice to commune with other Libera fans. We know their music so well that we understand each other perfectly when we talk about them. Thanks, Kelsie.

  3. I agree, I love Libera's voices, and I hate the techno modifications of those voices. I think the boys talents would be much better served without the use of such electronic modifications. Forget the mikes and the smoke machines and let the true voices of the boys come through. I think Libera and the boys would be much better served.

    I guess this is why I prefer the older cd's such as the 3 Angel Voices cd's. Not because the boys voices are better than todays, but because the voices are true and not altered.

  4. If the electronica is discreet, I don't mind--Walking in the Air from AV3, for example, or the stuff on Free (my favourite of their CDs)...Libera is just excessive, though. The live CD at Leiden demonstrated they don't need all that noise to weave their particular brand of audible honey--so leave it out!