Choral Essays, Vol. 1: The Quiet Heart

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COMPOSERS: arr. Philip Lawson
LABELS: Salvationist Publishing and Supplies
ALBUM TITLE: arr. Philip Lawson
PERFORMER: The King’s Singers
CATALOGUE NO: SPS 220

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A medley of three arrangements sung by the King’s Singers at the 2005 Salvation Army Hendon Highlights event led eventually to this collaboration with the Army, a 19-track selection of its songs of worship and devotion.

Much here depends on the arrangements for the Singers’ six unaccompanied voices by Philip Lawson, and his work is unfailingly sensitive.

There is a simple integrity to the basic melodies which resists sophisticated ‘interpretation’, yet Lawson manages to introduce variety: neat dynamic detailing suggests the noise of trumpet, drums and shouting in ‘In the Stillness’, and intriguing use of unusual harmonies highlights the momentary spiritual uncertainties of ‘When we cannot see our way’.

Technically the Singers are on impeccable form, effortlessly achieving standards of ensemble, tonal blend and perfect pitching that is beyond the grasp of most comparable vocal groupings.

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The quiet, unruffled placidity of the concluding ‘Home to Thee’ typifies the dedication they bring to this unique project. Terry Blain