There was an inexpensively priced CD on Amazon one day titled An Evening Hymn. It was from the Choir of Saint John’s College so I knew it would be good and at the price, I think it was only $7, I jumped on it.
This is the sort of quiet CD that should be listened to when you are settled in with a glass of wine and no distractions.
The subtitle of the CD is Music For Solo Treble and the soloist is Oliver Lepage-Dean, a brilliant singer. He sings with an organ for accompaniment, played by Christopher Whitton, on most of the songs, but there are some where he sings with a piano or a cello. A couple of songs have the choir backing him up.
Oliver sings songs by Purcell, Stanford, Mendelssohn, Ireland and Britten and several other composers. There are 25 numbers on this album, some sacred and some secular. I like the two funny folk songs, The Plough Boy and Oliver Cromwell with their strange lyrics.
On Pie Jesu he drops his voice to blend with the cello and it’s really nice the way he echoes the deep notes. A lot of the songs are familiar and all of them are good and just to mix it up a little more he finishes up with a great Gershwin number, Love Walked In.
The biographical information I’ve found for him comes mostly from the liner notes. I don’t know how old he was when he made this CD but it was recorded in 2002. There is a great photo of him that shows him to be a very happy boy if that smile is any indication.
He joined the choir at St. John’s at the age of eight and served as a chorister for six years, culminating in two years as Head Chorister. He performed with Jose Carreras at the Royal Albert Hall and he toured extensively with the choir, including Japan, South Africa, the United States, Holland and his native Belgium.
It’s sad to note that his voice broke midway through the American tour, just five weeks after completing this recording.