Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thank goodness Christmas is finally over. I’m so tired of being good and not pouting. Now that the presents have been opened I can relax again.

One thing I got was the 1997 Choir of New College, Oxford CD titled Early One Morning, Music From Past Times, For Our Time. This is an excellent collection of folk songs, mostly from the UK, that have been enriched by these powerful choral voices. Most of the songs are well-known, even by me, such as Linden Lea, Loch Lomond, Greensleeves and The Minstrel Boy.

One really good song is Londonderry Air. (Someone once told me that he used to think the title of the song was London Derriere, a song about a Parisian hooker in London. I told him he was thinking of the story A Tail of Two Cities.)

The choir performs this song without words, just ‘ooh-ing and aah-ing’. I wish I knew what that type of singing is called, there must be a word for it. It isn’t humming yet there are no words, either.

Anyway, I realized something when listening to this song, that words can get in the way. If you are listening to the interplay of beautiful voices then it can be really nice to not be distracted by the lyrics so you can concentrate more on just the sounds. It’s similar, for me, with foreign language songs. Since I don’t understand the words I don’t pay as much attention to them. They become just sounds.

The director, Edward Higginbottom, has included a couple of American spirituals, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and Steal Away and also Shenandoah, all which are really pretty.

Some of the other songs are Early One Morning, Waly, Waly, The Skye Boat Song and more.

It’s funny that the credits list Christopher Hughes as the organ scholar because that seems to indicate that the organ is present somewhere on the album, but I can’t hear it. The choir is singing without music, as far as I can tell. They really don’t need any accompaniment.
This is another great CD from the Choir of New College, but I doubt they could ever make a bad one.


  1. Happy New Year Larry.

    Picked up the link to your blog via Libera Dreams and I spent a leisurely day yesterday reading through all you posts.

    Can't believe you rate WSK ahead of Libera though!

  2. What a nice guy you are, Andy. I really enjoy doing this but getting comments like yours really makes me happy.

    I think I have about an equal number of Libera CDs and Vienna Boys' Choir CDs, my favorite probably depends on which one I'm listening to at the time. I've seen WSK twice but I drove 10 hours to see Libera so that tells you how much I love them.

    I hope this year will be a wonderful one for you, Andy, with lots of great music.

    p.s. I'm getting over a touch of something that put me off my feet for the past couple of days but I'll have a new post sometime today.

    Thanks again,

  3. Hi Larry,

    As you write such a great blog I'm prepared to forgive you for thinking that WSK even comes close to Liber:)

    I note your love of English Carols and my two favourites are also Bleak Mid Winter & The Holly and The Ivy. Im also very fond of the Coventry Carol.

    A little late for this year, but one of my favourite Christmas albums (other than those you mention) is O Come all Ye Faithful by Kings College Choir in 1984 (must be the '84 version) I soucred it from US Amazon.

  4. To add to what I said above, I think the CD was a 1990 release of the 1984 recording

  5. I find that I like to hear Christmas music at different times of the year. It's a nice change sometimes and always beautiful so I'll definitely look for that one. Thanks Andy.