I wish there was a web site for people to swap their CDs with other people. I have a lot of older music that I would gladly exchange for some more boy choir music. I'll trade five Talking Heads for one Tolzer Knabenchor or how about Moby and the soundtrack from Pulp Fiction for something from the Pacific Boychoir?
If anyone decides to start a site like that I hope you'll tell me.
One of the very first choirs that I came to like is the Vienna Boys Choir and I bought quite a few of their CDs. I have more of their albums than any other choir.
An interesting one is their 500th Anniversary CD. It’s a 2006 reissue of an album from 1998, the year of their anniversary.
In 1498 they were known as the “Court Choir Boys” and sang for Emperor Maximilian I and this CD is a collection of music from that time period. Here they share the stage with the Chorus Viennensis, a male choir made up of former Vienna Choir Boys and created in 1952 “to provide the Choir Boys with a matching ensemble of men’s voices“.
There are two male soloists as well, with great voices. Music is by the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, directed by Agnes Grossmann.
I wish the boys were more prominent on this CD but with the loud music and the men’s voices they are often a little overshadowed.
There are two pieces by Schubert, who was himself a Vienna Choir Boy, Magnificat in C Major, D. 486 and Gesang Der Geister, D. 714 and they are both great songs. Magnificat has a really good boy soloist but I don’t know who it is because the liner notes on the reissue don’t tell us anything about the boys.
I really like the first song, Haydn’s Grosses Te Deum. It’s a powerful piece and beautifully written with some exciting violins and soaring violin-like vocals.
Antonio Salieri, whom we all know from the movie Amadeus, has a song here that had never before been recorded, Coronation Te Deum, written for the coronation of Emperor Franz II. He was probably not as bad a person as the movie made him out to be.
Salieri is followed by Mozart’s Mass No. 15 which I like a lot better. The boy soloist here is nice but not as strong as the other one.
All in all it’s a pretty good CD. I can’t imagine a better choir than Wiener Sangerknaben, no matter what they do. Their singing always is distinctive and beautiful.