There are a lot of choirs around the world and it’s a lot of fun to explore their music and learn things about them and there are many that I want to hear but I just haven’t gotten to them yet. One choir that I kept putting off is the Pacific Boychoir and I don’t know why. I think for some reason I expected them to be sort of ordinary, not a top notch group, but I was very wrong.
I’ve had a lot of CD’s on order for a week or so and the first to arrive was Cantate, by the Troubadors of the Pacific Boychoir. This is music of Bach, Mozart, Posch and Mendelssohn and the singing is top notch after all. These little boys have some great voices and great skill.
According to the booklet the intent on this CD was to perform these works the way the composers intended, with boy sopranos instead of the female sopranos that are favored today. It’s intended to be more historically accurate, combining both boy’s and men’s voices along with a chamber orchestra of “historically informed practice”. It all works so well.
They start with Bach’s Cantata 150 which is in 7 movements. The writer points out the great “tone ladder” in the 4th movement where the voices step up continually from the bass line to the first violins in a beautiful way. You just have to hear it.
Bach also has Mein Glaubiges Herze (from Cantata 68) which is one of my favorites.
Mozart is represented by Sub Tuum Praesidium and Ergo Interest/Quaere Superna which, according to the notes, are little-known or performed church works from his early years. The first is a duet by a great treble, Julian Abelskamp and 11-year old mezzo-soprano Jacob Wilson.
The reviewer says about the second piece it “demands a singer of technical mastery capable of … the vocal range with Bach-like disregard for a singer’s need to breathe from time to time”. Pretty funny.
They give us Cantate Domino by Isaac Posch, another duet by Ableskamp and Wilson, and Mendelssohn’s Surrexit Pastor Bonus, written when he was only 17.
If you are familiar with these songs I don’t need to say much about how beautiful they are and if, like me, you don’t know them then you should check them out on this disc.