Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Felix  Mendelssohn, Bernard Rose, Johannes Brahms|
Hear My Prayer
Listen to Samples
Both an excellent performance and an interesting selection
Mark Swinton | 02/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every now and then, a cathedral chorister appears with a such a refined and musical voice that the director of music says "I'll have to make a CD of this one." One such chorister in the early 1990s was Jeremy Budd, who was particularly fortunate to be in the Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, meaning that his recording could appear on the Hyperion label. "Hear My Prayer" is therefore a showcase for Budd, in that most of the works in the programme feature a treble solo of some description. The title work (and opening track) by Mendelssohn is better known to millions as the piece containing "O for the wings of a dove," and the rendition here is about as good as I've heard. Any former cathedral chorister that has sung this may admit to needing nerves of steel for the solo part: it occupies most of the piece and can easily sound shoddy if it is not sung with faultless intonation and expression. Budd exhibits those characteristics to perfection, however: he positively revels in the vast acoustics of St. Paul's, and is supported ably by the rest of the choir in what is a rivetting and beautiful performance. Visitors to the cathedral during 1991 must surely have been spellbound when this was on the music list!The other awe-inspiring treble solo on the disc is the much-touted Allegri "Miserere." Since hearing recordings of this by A Sei Voci and the Taverner Consort, with their scholarly editions of the work, the version recorded here sounds somewhat bland, and it is a shame to point out to listeners that the top Cs in the solo sections are pure fiction: Allegri certainly didn't write them. That said, Jeremy Budd was obviously both willing and able to supply such high notes for this recording - they are spine-chilling and accurately placed.The rest of the programme is something of a curiosity to me: as I have said, most of the works feature a treble solo; not all do, however. Tavener's majestic but seldom-heard setting of Psalm 121, "I will lift up mine eyes," is scored for full chorus throughout. The only reason I can see for its appearance on this disc is that it was written for the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir and had in fact received its first performance (by them) a matter of months before the recording was made. Other items are Harvey's "Come, Holy Ghost," a very impressive and striking adaptation of the familiar plainchant hymn (written for Martin Neary and the Winchester Cathedral Choir); "A Feast Song for St Cecilia" by Bernard Rose (formerly musical director of Magdalen College, Oxford) which is even more striking in its strange harmonic language; "The ways of Zion do mourn" by Michael Wise, for treble and bass soloists (one of the first anthems to be performed at St. Paul's after it was re-built following the Great Fire of London in 1666); an excerpt from Brahms' ever-popular "German Requiem"; and the Evening Service in G by Stanford, including a ravishing treble solo in the "Magnificat" and a similarly-written bass solo in the "Nunc Dimittis," one of Stanford's finest such works (and beautifully represented here). Everything is wonderfully sung - and aided by the cathedral's unique resonance, the whole disc is positively thrilling.So, a boy treble's showcase that touches upon the history of his home cathedral and includes some of the most ravishing music in the church's repertoire, with at least one premiere recording along the way. This is a great record and a 'must' for all devotees of cathedral music: even if you have dozens of Allegri recordings and yet more copies of "O for the wings," this excellent recording in true Hyperion tradition will appear to outdo them all."
Excellent Choir, Excellent Soloist
Gracejoy | New York, NY United States | 01/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want to hear the sound of a very fine boy soloist, I can recommend this recording to you heartily. I must agree with the other reviewer that, of all the conventional (i.e. not scholarly) performances of Allegri's "Miserere" I have ever heard, this one is the very best. Jeremy Budd's beautiful voice simply soars on those high notes, and he hits the high C dead on. I have never heard another treble do as well on this piece. Budd's vocal talent is also on full display in "Ye Now Are Sorrowful" -- simply beautiful. The rest of the music is all lovely; the choir is in good form as always."
A Treasure Trove of great music
Randall R. Rice | Roxbury, MA United States | 07/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had bought this for Harvey's "Come Holy Ghost", a wonderful setting of the plainchant that captures the text. I was surpsied by all the tracks, the Ellegri just wonderful. As I have been sued to the Kings College version, I found this rendition actually better in some aspects, Jeremy Budd is terrific on this and other pieces. As also are the other soloists. Well worth the money.Hear My Prayer"