Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ask and ye shall receive. I just noticed something a couple of days ago. On the Libera home page they are giving us a free download of a new song, ‘O Sanctissima’, that will be on their next CD which is hoped to be released in March, 2010.
It’s a beautiful song and it’s unmistakably Libera.


With the great number of choral songs that have been written over the centuries it is little wonder that there are so many I have not heard yet. I do keep on trying, though.
There are a lot of beautiful songs that have become standards, at least for boy choirs. For example, I have almost 20 versions of Pie Jesu, at least 10 of Miserere and 10 of Ave Verum Corpus.

But I have also found songs that I love which are somehow less popular and I wonder why these are not performed more often. Perhaps I'm just not finding the right CD's.

Everyone knows Franck's Panis Angelicus but have you heard his Alleluia! from the Choeur de Pacques? The Choir of King’s College sing it on their Heavenly Voices CD and it's really gorgeous. The funny thing is that I can't find much about it on the internet, not even the words.

I think it must take a special voice to sing Peuri Conceniti by Herbeck because of those extra high notes near the end. The Vienna Boys Choir tackle it easily on their Ave Maria CD and Jean Baptiste Maunier does a pretty version but those are the only two that I have found.

Winchester Cathedral, on a CD titled Allegri Miserere and Other Choral Favorites, has a very good soloist singing This Is The Record of John. I’ve only found it on one other CD, but what a unique song. I love the way the choir repeats each verse and changes it to make it sound more complex.

Zuercher Sangerknaben has a CD called Ave Maria which has a lot of different versions of that song by different composers but one that I had not heard before is the one by Paolo Tosti. It’s sung by a tenor and sounds like it could be from an opera.

The Choir of the Abbey School at Tewkesbury has a Favorite Hymns CD that features more than one outstanding song, but the one I love best is I, The Lord Of Sea And Sky. One particular boy chorister has a voice that shines forth even though the others are singing just as loudly. This is a great song that has great lyrics, like “I will break their hearts of stone, give them hearts of love alone.”

I’m not sure what my point is, maybe that we should always welcome music that we are unfamiliar with because there’s no telling when a gem will pop up. I know a lot of people who still listen to the same music they listened to in high school or college and they’re happy with that. Not me.


  1. Can't post a YouTube link here, but, if you'll search "pueri concinite les petits chanteurs a la croix de bois" you'll find several videos; the second is the best, I think.

    There's also a very nice performance by the Phoenix Boys Choir available on YouTube.

  2. You're right, David. I watched 4 versions of the song and I especially liked the soloist of the Phoenix Boys Choir. He has something special going for him.
    I looked up the words on the internet and now I can lip-sync along. :-)