Morley, Byrd, Parry, etc

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Byrd,etc,Morley,Parry
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: All in the April Evening
WORKS: Works by Morley, Byrd, Parry,
PERFORMER: Laudibus/Michael Brewer
Many readers will remember Hugh Roberton’s Glasgow Orpheus Choir, and this new CD by the four-year-old chamber choir Laudibus, whose members are selected by audition from the National Youth Choir, is a tribute to them. Focusing on the lighter unaccompanied pieces in the Orpheus repertoire, it opens with Roberton’s celebrated partsong and features a number of his own skilled folksong arrangements as well as rather more characterful and evocative ones by Vaughan Williams, whose imaginative Three Shakespeare Songs of 1951 form the largest piece here. Under its conductor Mike Brewer, Laudibus makes a good sound, with neat chording, excellent breath control and a careful attention to balance. There are very few occasions when intonation is even slightly suspect, while at its most refined the tone is never pallid. The acoustic (no venue listed) adds an attractive halo of resonance that does not swamp the music. If the Byrd Ave verum corpus and madrigals by Morley and Bennett sound odd with such as sizeable choir these days, items such as Warlock’s ‘Corpus Christi’ carol and Elgar’s ‘My love dwelt in a northern land’ are impeccably done, though an occasional lack of momentum mars Brewer’s otherwise clean direction. George Hall