The King's Singers - The Best of The King's Singers

Published Sunday 18th November 2012
The King's Singers - The Best of The King's Singers
The King's Singers - The Best of The King's Singers

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Signum Classics SIGCD297

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This double CD is released as part of the Singers' current label Signum's 15th anniversary celebrations. Thus the title 'The Best Of The King's Singers' is slightly misleading and should have a sub-title reading something along the lines of ' The Signum Years'. The first CD includes titles from 'Christmas' (the group's 2004 debut album with Signum), along with music from 'Landscape And Time', 'Treason And Dischord', Gesualdo's 'Tenebrae Responsories', 'Sacred Bridges', 'Siglio d'Oro', 'Romance Du Soir', 'From The Heart', 'High Flight ' and the 2012 release 'Royal Rhymes And Rounds'. The second CD presents songs from 'Six', their most recent light album 'Swimming Over London' and the Grammy Award winning 'Simple Gifts'. The King's Singers are nothing if not prolific and they continue to set the standard for tight harmony acappella singing with a very distinctive vocal blend. The current line up is David Hurley and Timothy Wayne-Wright (counter-tenors), Paul Phoenix (tenor), the Christophers Bruerton and Gabbitas (baritones) and Jonathan Howard (bass). Not all of the 40 tracks are explicitly Christian; the 'Classical' disc has more examples than the 'Light' side but between the two there is more than enough to warrant a review. Personal favourites include a definitive version of John Tavener's setting of William Blake's "The Lamb" and Eric Whitacre's numinous "Lux Aurumque" from the 'Classical' collection and the traditional "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Steal Away" from the 'Light' programme. Also of note are Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (and although I still have little idea as to what it is about, the singing is superb) and one of my all-time favourites in Neil Young's "After The Goldrush" which here sounds better than the original - not too difficult when we remember Young's limitations as a vocalist. In brief, there is nothing here that is not enjoyable and much that it is outstanding. Unless you have most of the discs from which this collection has been culled this is well worth having.

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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