STYLE: Choral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 174628-28022 LABEL: Decca FORMAT: CD Album
Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
Based on what I have heard on earlier releases by the vocal octet Voces8 I was looking forward to hearing this one but almost inevitably there is a But coming. As before there is some excellent singing but, for me, I think the group could be heading off into crossover territory which is not always my cup of tea. There is a commendably broad range of music from John Tavener's breakthrough piece "Song For Athene" and an arrangement of part of "Arcadiana", from a string quartet by Thomas Adès that has been used to set words from William Blake's Visions Of The Daughters Of Albion through to Radiohead's "Pyramid Song" along with folk tunes, world premiere recordings and music from TV shows Game Of Thrones and Harry's Game. The two premiere recordings on the new album are by English composer Toby Hession who gives us a new a cappella choral work "She Walks In Beauty" and a new arrangement of "The Sun Never Says" by American composer Dan Forrest - a stirring work for choir and solo cello. Another American choral writer Jake Runestad also features with "Let My Love Be Heard", a setting of a text by the English poet Alfred Noyes. Our tour also takes us to the abandoned Scottish island of St Kilda, with the recently-discovered tune "Soay" in a new arrangement by British composer Rebecca Dale, which includes a poignant cello solo. Other Scottish tunes to appear on the album are "My Luve Is Like A Red Red Rose" arranged by Latvian choral composer Ēriks E¨envalds, and "Caledonia" by Dougie MacLean, arranged by VOCES8's own tenor Blake Morgan. For me I think the collection is trying just a little too hard to be eclectic and ends up getting dangerously close to the bland crossover-choral-classical genre typified by Jenkins' 'Adiemus' which was interesting on release but quickly became stale. There are some fine individual tracks, such as the Tavener mentioned above and Samuel Barber's "Agnus Dei", and everything is sung well but my overall impression is of a collection compiled by Decca's marketing team to be radio-friendly and appeal to the crossover market.
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