A few years ago, when I moved into this house, I realized that there was no aerial television reception here at the foot of this hill and surrounded by trees. There was no using a satellite dish and I’m too far from the main roads to get cable so I decided to forego television and see if I could live without it. It was easier than I thought it would be.
I watch DVD’s instead when I need something visual and not just movies. I like to watch performance DVD’s of boy choirs and I have several. Probably my favorite one is Ave Verum by the Choir of Saint John’s College Cambridge.
There are no special effects, no fancy camera work besides panning and zooming; it’s just the choir standing in the chapel, singing, but it’s fun to watch. Many of the boys, especially the younger ones, have such earnest expressions and it’s easy to see that they are taking their music seriously.
It’s also a bit funny to see them trying hard not to look at the camera, even when it comes very close to them.
They do three Ave Verums, one by Mozart, one by Byrd and one by Elgar. I don’t know which one I like best.
Some of the other songs are How Lovely are Thy Dwellings, Locus Iste, O! For a Closer Walk With God, Pie Jesu Domini and one that I like a lot, Cantique De Jean Racine.
One of the older choristers leads in Panis Angelicus and he has a wonderful, strong tenor voice. They are joined by an cello and harp on that number.
I think my favorite song is Haydn’s Insanae Et Vanae Curae. Listening to a CD I can hear how all the vocal parts come together but watching it I can see how it’s done. On this song they repeat the phrase "saepe furore" five times with a different combination of voices each time. The fifth time they go really high and loud. It’s really sort of thrilling.
There is a clip of that song and some of the others on Youtube so here's a link for anyone who wants to see it.