Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Good Year

We are nearing the end of a major project at work and I 've been stuck with a lot of overtime every day and no days off. I'm only mentioning it to explain the lack of posts lately. I usually try to upload something every 3 or 4 days and I'm behind. Anyway, this is a special one.

February 14th is my one year anniversary of blogging. It’s appropriate because it’s Valentine’s day and I love boy choirs (in a perfectly wholesome and appropriate way, of course).

When I began this blog I didn’t really know much about this music but I’ve learned some things this year, both by researching and with the help of kind readers.

Also, I have collected a lot of CD’s this year and I’ve noticed that there are some albums that I listen to more than others so I thought I would offer my top ten list of CD’s. This is not a value judgment, I’m not saying that one choir or one album is better than the rest. This is only a list of the ones that I find that I play the most often. In no particular order:

1. Angel Voices - Libera (2006)
    A classic recording that won them tons of new fans all over the world

2. Hymn - The American Boychoir (1995)
    Some of the prettiest singing I have ever heard.

3. Heavenly Voices - The Boys of King’s College Choir, Cambridge (2004)
    A very powerful and dynamic album

4. Ave Maria - The Vienna Boys Choir (1998)
    This shows why this choir is the most famous choir in the world

5. Dennis and Polskie Slowiki (2001)
    This boy had one of the greatest voices of our time

6. Requiem - Boys Air Choir  (1997)
    Very haunting

7. Agnus Dei, Music of Inner Harmony - The Choir of New College, Oxford (1996)
    It’s what you would expect angels to sound like

8. Will Your Anchor Hold? - Ely Cathedral Choir (1999)
    A fun and touching collection of music

9. Favorite Hymns - The Choir of the Abbey School, Tewkesbury (2001)
    Very moving and sweet

10. Les Choristes en Concert - Les Petits Chanteurs de St Marc (2005)
      It’s got girls in it but Jean Baptiste Maunier makes up for it

11. The Sublime Treble Voice of James Rainbird - James Rainbird (1987)
      I’m still in love with his voice

Okay, so I couldn’t stop at ten. I could have mentioned the Yeshiva Boys Choir and a few more. It's all good.


  1. Morning Larry,

    You've already got me checking Amazon for some of those records! Quick question though - what years are these recoded in? I've seen two versions of the New College Agnus Dei - 1 in '97 and 1 in 2000. The cover is almost the same but I don't want to mess up - is your version with Edward Higginbottom?

  2. Thanks for the reminder, Andy. I edited the post to add those dates. The Agnus Dei that I have says 1996 on the back of the CD.

    You know, I'm going to see the Choir of New College this April 18th in Washington DC. They'll be at the National Cathedral with the St. Thomas choir from NY and the National Cathedral choir. I can't wait.

  3. Hi Larry, hope you are well and that work has eased off.

    Well, I've taken delivery of three of the albums in your list (already had Angel Voices by Libera - but Luminosa or Free beat it in my book).

    Not had much time to listen to them yet so the following is just based on first listen:

    Agnus Dei, New College - wow. Stunning. Thank you so much for pointing me to this one, absolutely love it.

    Heavenly Voices, Boy's of Kings - nice, but not yet connected. Think it will grow on me.

    James Rainbird - I think your fears that I might not like it may be realised. Nothing on it comes close to his Suo Gan. Not given up hope just yet, more listening required.

    Keep up the good work, that New College CD will be treasured forever!

  4. Oh Andy, I was pretty sure your reaction to James Rainbird's album would be the same as mine. I don't know who chose the songs but they could have done a much better job. Don't give up on it, though. Listen to "Sure On This Shining Night" a couple of times. It really is pretty. Then "I Have a Friend". Hear how easily he belts out the high notes without straining. If ever a boy was meant for the musical stage it was this one. I can't believe he hasn't made a bigger name for himself.

    Oh, and on that King's College CD listen to the that Karg-Elert number, track 16-17, with the volume turned way up. The rumbly organ and the throbbing violin are great, especially when the voices come in.

    Thanks Andy,

  5. Libera's new CD is due out sometime in the next week or so--but iTunes will probably get it late. If "Sanctissima" is any indicator, it's going to be really good...

  6. Hi Larry (and hi to Kelsie, how's the world of Bach?).

    I'm much happier with the James Rainbird CD now. For me it is one of those mood albums (in my case when I'm a bit melancholic, it's late at night, dark, the fire is lit and I've got a couple of fingers of single malt to sip at).

    Still can't get enough of New College though, I'm very envious that you will see them live in April. I think I need to make a few plans to take in a concert or two myself this year.

    Sad to say that although I live in the UK I have never got of my fat ass to go and see any of our great choirs perform. Madness on my part.