The International Staff Songsters Of The Salvation Army - Introit

Published Thursday 2nd April 2009
The International Staff Songsters Of The Salvation Army - Introit
The International Staff Songsters Of The Salvation Army - Introit

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 77599-15229
LABEL: Salvationist Publishing & Supp 24979
RRP: £13.95

Reviewed by Phil Thomson

Sit back, close your eyes and simply drift away at the back of the hall. Here we are, that familiar one-piano accompaniment following in behind those glorious choral harmonies as the Songsters take us through their latest repertoire of standards. Probably nothing much has changed in decades except the technology. There are no frills, just the missionary zeal of a choir who know their ministry really does reach the parts other choirs might possibly not reach. But that's on the road. Here on the album you can skip a track or two, revisit a song that hits the spot and generally get to know the singers. If it's "Soon And Very Soon", "Draw Me Nearer", "Nothing But The Blood" you won't be disappointed, and there is even a spirited "Salute To The Joystrings" ('60s nostalgists might still remember the Salvationist beat group of that name who once made the UK pop charts). Admirably, the producer Brian A Hillson has sought to broaden the appeal by including Martin Lauridsen's peace-inducing "O Magnum Mysterium", 6.37 minutes of sensitivity and perfect timing in its purest, unaccompanied state - and also Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's time-honoured "Magic Flute Overture". Now that's an inspired break with tradition. The choir get to flex their muscles on a Rutteresque three-parter "My New Day" by Albert Mingay and Ray Steadman-Allen, but for me, getting lost in Frances Ridley Havergal's "Use Me" or Oscar Ahnfelt's "Day By Day" is at the heart of this album. The stark simplicity of one piano and a choir leave you no choice. Open your eyes now.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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