Thursday, 15 March 2018

CD Review (The Straits Times, March 2018)

Singapore Symphony Children's Choir
Wong Lai Foon (Conductor)
Singapore Symphony Group  / ****1/2

This recording was conceived in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Singapore Symphony Children's Choir. The choir was formed in 2007 and made its debut in the Singapore premiere of Mahler's Third Symphony

This is a short disc but amply displays the choir's versatility under one of its founder conductors Wong Lai Foon. There are popular items such as Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus (arranged by Briant Trant), Richard Rodgers' The Sound Of Music (arr. Charles Smith),  Joe Hisaishi's Kimi Wo Nosete (Carrying You, arr. Yu Fukuzawa), and John Rutter's It Was A Lover And His Lass. The 52-member choir sings with purity, innocence and very good discipline.

The longest item is Bob Chilcott's A Little Jazz Mass, which positively swings through its five liturgical movements. High class backing is provided by pianist Gabriel Hoe and principal musicians of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, including bassist Guennadi Mouzyka and Mark Suter on drums. 

There are also two Singaporean works, Lee Chin Sin's lovely A Child's Voice and Chen Zhangyi's slightly modernistic Water. The choir's mastery of the latter's idiom and subtle dissonances suggests it can handle Benjamin Britten's choral scores next. A very pleasant listening experience, so more of the same please. 

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