STYLE: Choral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 179916- LABEL: Rubicon RCD1060 FORMAT: CD Album
Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
The performing life of a treble is brief. Now aged 12, Cai Thomas has sung with the Choir of St-Thomas-on-The Bourne at Farnham in Surrey since the age of seven and was a finalist in BBS 2's Young Chorister Of The Year in 2019. Now he has a debut album released by Rubicon Classics after a successful Kickstarter campaign so his voice is preserved for posterity as within a few short years it will change. Thankfully the record is a good one. No hackneyed "Wings Of A Dove" or "Walking In The Air" as we get an interesting selection ranging from Mozart and Handel through to Eriks Esenvalds and Ola Gjeilo with appropriate backing from several different choirs and instrumental ensembles throughout, all under the direction of Robert Lewis. Young Master Thomas has a beautiful voice, clear and controlled without ever becoming shrill and his diction is perfect. The first single from the album, the traditional Welsh "Suo-Gan" in an arrangement by Donald Frazer backed by the Choristers of St-Thomas-on-The Bourne and the Bourne Ensemble, was released in November 2019 and played on Classic FM. The follow-up, from February 2020, was Sir Karl Jenkins' "Ave Verum" with Norwegian baritone Aksel Rykkvin and the London Mozart Players. Other guest artists are the chamber choir Pegasus on three tracks, including a personal favourite of mine, Stanford's "The Blue Bird", and organist Julian Cooper on Faure's "Pie Jesu". Any programme that takes us from Mozart's "Laudate Dominum" to Schonberg's "Bring Him Home" from 'Les Misérables' is nothing if not varied yet Cai Thomas and his guest artists rise to every challenge to give us a most enjoyable presentation. The album is called 'Seren' which is Welsh for star and whoever decided on that title was not wrong. Long may he shine!
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