In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
One of Europe's most prominent chamber choirs, the JCS is renowned for its virtuosity and intensity of spirit, as well as for an astoundingly wide repertoire, ranging from the 16th Century to the present day. An important element of the choir's raison d'etre is its commitment to contemporary and new music, including a high proportion of first performances, and supported by several highly-successful Educational Projects. Many composers have written music for JCS, including David Bedford, Michael Berkeley, Judith Bingham, Jonathan Harvey, Alun Hoddinott, Roxanna Panufnik, Kaija Saariaho and Malcolm Williamson.
Formed in 1988, by conductor Peter Broadbent, the choir first came to prominence when it won the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year competition in 1990. Since then it has maintained its profile in the music world, winning an impressive list of national and international competitions leading to many invitations. JCS regularly appears at all the UK's major music festivals, including Bath, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, City of London, Chelsea, Presteigne, Spitalfields, Three Choirs, Huddersfield Contemporary Music and the BBC Proms. Equally prominent in Europe, JCS has performed at festivals in France, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Russia, broadcasting in many countries as well as on BBC and Classic FM. The choir and Peter Broadbent were honoured to receive the "Guidoneum Award" from the Fondazione Guido d'Arezzo in recognition of its achievements and promotion of choral music. In the USA, JCS has given concerts at Stanford University, in Los Angeles and San Diego, and appeared at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors' Association, in Texas.
Performances with orchestras include many with the City of London Sinfonia with the late Richard Hickox, CBE, and with Mark Elder, Nicholas Kraemer and Stuart Bedford, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Sir Andrew Davies), the Southern Sinfonia, the Britten Sinfonia (Alec Roth), the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Northern Sinfonia and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Sir Roger Norrington). Soloists have included Dame Felicity Lott, Carolyn Sampson, Patricia Rozario, Sarah Fox, Mark Padmore, James Gilchrist, Roderick Williams and Stephen Varcoe as well as instrumentalists Philippa Davies, Paul Watkins, Madeleine Mitchell and Robert Cohen.
To date, the JCS has a discography of some 22 recordings. On the ASV label are discs of music by Jonathan Harvey, Francis Poulenc and Samuel Barber, and for EMI Classics, Garland for Linda. Other releases include A Plum Pudding with Dame Felicity Lott and Gabriel Woolf (White Line), Angels Sing! - choral music by Roxanna Panufnik (Warner Classics), Malcolm Williamson, (Naxos), and by Cecilia McDowall (Dutton Epoch) and of Christmas music by Roderick Elms with the RPO (Naxos). Where Hope is Shining, a disc of choral works by Vaughan Williams, was released by Albion Records in 2008 and Sing Joyfully, a collection of British Music on its own label in 2009. There was also a regular collaboration with Richard Hickox and CLS for Chandos, including three in the complete Percy Grainger Series, Lennox Berkeley's Ruth, a recording of Vaughan Williams' Christmas choral music and a recording of Holst's choral ballet music with BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
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Review: In every way imaginable, this is an extraordinarily moving recording. A Garland for Linda arose from Paul McCartney's desire to help find a cure for cancer while creating that support by composition of life enhancing music. His goal found precedent in "a Garland for the Queen" from 1953 when ten leading British composers, including Vaughan Williams, contributed new works as a musical celebration of the coronation. This celebration is of the life of Linda McCartney. The recording opens with one piece from the earlier "Garland," "Silence and Music" by Ralph Vaughan Williams. This remarkable recording then has new works by John Tavener, Judith Bingham, John Rutter, David Matthews, Paul McCartney, Roxanna Panufnik, Michael Berkeley, Giles Swayne, and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. It is a glorious 'Who's Who' of contemporary British composers.
Songlist: Silence & Music, Prayer For the Healing Of the Sick, Water lilies, Musica Dei Donum, The Doorway of the Dawn, Nova, I Dream'd, Farewell, The Filght Of the Swan, A Good-Night
Review: A gloriously beautiful choral offering for the Poulenc Centenary year; the perfect introduction to his music and one that truly celebrates the human voice. While no other CD duplicates the programme exactly, all the music is justly familiar. The earliest works are the Sept Chansons of 1936, hailed as comparable to the finest madrigals of Monteverdi. His masterpiece is perhaps the wartime Figure Humaine, written in preparation of when liberation could be celebrated with the majestic climax of the final Liberte. Contemporary with this is the chamber cantata Un Soir de Neige, contrasting the bleak coldness with the peace of Christmas. Among the many delights of this beautiful programme are Poulenc's most popular choral pieces, the four Christmas Motets, tranquil and joyful by turn, and the Four Little Prayers of St. Francis of Assisi, written for monks to sing. His last motet, for female voices, was the exquisite Ave verum corpus of 1952.
Songlist: La Blanche Neige, A Peine Defiguree, Par Une Nuit Nouvelle, Tous Les Droits, Belle Et Ressemblante, Marie, Lurie, Ave Verum Corpus, Salve Regina, Exultate Deo, De Tous Les Printemps Du Monde, En Chantant Les Servants S'elancent, Aussie Bas Que Le Silence, Toi Ma Patiente, Riante Du Ciel Et Des Planetes, Le Jour M'etonne Et La Nuit Me Fait Peur, La Menace Sous Le Ciel Rouge, Liberte, Salut, Dame Sainte, Tout Puissant Dieu, Seigneur, Je Vous En Prie, O Mes Tres Chers Freres, La Blanche Neige (De Grandes Cuillers De Neige), La Bonne Neige, Bois Meurtri, La Nuit, Le Froid, La Solitude, O Magnum Mysterium, Quem Vidistis Pastores, Videntes Stellam, Hodie Christus Natus Est
Review: A unique all-American program from the amazing Joyful Company of Singers that contains some of that country's most beautiful choral works of our time, including Barber's own choral version of his Adagio. The dozen choral pieces chosen by Peter Broadbent superbly demonstrate Barber's melodic genius. They include the only recording available of his radiantly intense God's Grandeur. Offering stimulating contrast are contemporary William Schuman's Perceptions and the hilariously entertaining Mail-Order Madrigals, the words taken straight out of an 1897 catalogue.
Songlist: Twelfth Night, To Be Sung On the Water, Reincarnations:, i) Mary Hynes, ii) Anthony O'Daly, iii) The Coolin', Agnus Dei , Heaven-Haven, Sure On This Shining Night, The Monk and His Cat, The Virgin Martyrs, Let Down the Bars, O Death, God's Grandeur, Perceptions:, i) Thought, ii) Beautiful Women, iii) To Old Age, iv) Each Of Us, v) To the States, vi) A Farm Picture, vii) Whoever You Are, viii) To You, Mail Order Madrigals:, i) Attention, Ladies!, ii) Superfluous Hair, iii) Sweet Refreshing Sleep, iv) Dr Worden's Pills