Friday, September 30, 2011

Why British choirs are the best

From the article: "Where Are The World's Best Choirs? Not In America"

Tom Huizenga: Back to why British choirs are so good. You hinted at it earlier when you mentioned the Church of England. I was talking to Susanna Beiser, a good friend who sings here with the Cathedral Choral Society. She says:

"It's not necessarily some vague "Britishness" either, that makes their choirs so good. I think it's worth pointing out that it's the Church of England. The Anglicans rule choral music. The Catholics, on the other hand, to whom much of the repertoire rightfully belongs, have not sustained their music traditions as well, and their choirs mostly sound bad when they're not doing some guitar mass or something. But even before Vatican II, I don't think they were keeping up. From what I hear, the Church of England is in terrible shape, attendance-wise, and now with the move by a growing number of conservative Anglicans to reconcile with Rome, the choral tradition may end up being the primary contribution of 500 years of English Protestantism."

Here are some videos of the best choirs in the world according to Grammophone magazine. I recommend you to listen with your headphones to be blown away by the quality, tone, and clarity.

1. The Monteverdi Choir - Alma Redemptoris Mater (G.P. da Palestrina)

2. Polyphony - Ave, Dulcissima Maria (Morten Lauridsen)

3. The Cardinall's Musick - Domine, secundum actum meum (William Byrd)

And my personal favourite:

4. The Sixteen - Miserere mei, Deus (Gregorio Allegri)

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