Magazine article Gramophone

Spicer's Student Secular Choral Series Alights on Stanford

Magazine article Gramophone

Spicer's Student Secular Choral Series Alights on Stanford

Article excerpt

Stanford 'Partsongs' On Time. Heraclitus. To Chloris. Corydon, arise!. The Swallow. Praised be Diana. Like Desert Woods. To his Flocks. On a hill there grows a flower. The Blue Bird. Shall we go dance?. When Mary thro' the garden went. Diaphenia. The Haven. A Lover's Ditty. God and the universe. Peace, come away. A Dirge. Out in the windy west. The Witch. Farewell, my joy!. The Train. The Inkbottle. Chillingham. My heart in thine Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir / Paul Spicer Somm [F] SOMM0128 (76' x DDD)

It's a mark of musical fashion that this disc from Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir is the first to be devoted solely to Stanford's part-songs, many of which make their recorded debut here. I blame the texts.

While Victorian sentimentality is braced and--to some extent--contained by Uturgy, here among the Corydons and Diaphenias, fa-la-la-ing through meadows of 'daffadowndillys', it takes pastel-coloured flight.

Spicer addresses this issue head-on, refusing to offer precious performances of precious verse. The energy and abandon he gets from his young singers is impressive, stretching the emotional canvas of these miniatures with an unexpectedly mature sound. …

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