Magazine article Gramophone

Secular Choral Works from Spicer's Student Choir

Magazine article Gramophone

Secular Choral Works from Spicer's Student Choir

Article excerpt

Delius * Ireland

Delius Durch den Wald. Sonnenscheinlied. Fruhlingsanbruch. Her ute skal. An den Sonnenschein. Ave Maria. On Craig Ddu. Two Songs to be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water. The splendour falls on castle walls. Midsummer Song. Wanderer's Song Ireland Heraclitus. Weep you no more, sad fountains. Fain would I change that note. When May is in his prime. New Prince, New Pomp. Adam lay ybounden. The Holy Boy. A New Year Carol. Twilight Night. The Peaceful Western Wind. Laughing Song. Spring, the sweet spring. Cupid. A Cradle Song. Immortality. The Hills Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir/Paul Spicer Somm Celeste (F) SOMMCD0119 (66' * DDD)

Apart from as a composer (and writer), it has been a while since Paul Spicer's last published outing. That was, as here, with the Chamber Choir of the Birmingham Conservatoire and was also as here an anthology of 20th-century choral music. This new offering is more specific, though, comprising only part-songs of Frederick Delius and John Ireland. Never one to release a disc of little-known music just for the sake of his own musical preferences--Spicer is one of this country's greatest champions of English choral music--the niche character of this disc belies the colourful universe of Victorian and Edwardian England and the worthiness of the music itself.

Despite their obvious craftsmanship and refinement, the part-songs of both Delius and Ireland are peppered with the folksong references that make them so unmistakably English and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir perform them with admirable tuning and ensemble (although perhaps given a slightly unfair advantage by the expansive acoustic of Birmingham's Church of St Alban). …

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