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Julia Doyle|James McCarthy: Code Breaker & Will Todd: Ode to a Nightingale

James McCarthy: Code Breaker & Will Todd: Ode to a Nightingale

Julia Doyle & Hertfordshire Chorus

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The two choral works on this double album are not exactly similar in style. Although they fall broadly into the neo-tonal, contemporary British choral school, they are quite different in effect and in the harmonic-melodic spheres they inhabit. And this is exactly what makes the combination work. Both works set texts that might be expected to be occupied by other forces, yet both rely on the strength and familiarity of the British choral tradition to get their points across. James McCarthy's Codebreaker is operatic in nature; it's a kind of oratorio in which the story of British mathematician Alan Turing, who made major contributions to the World War II effort as a codebreaker, is ingeniously fitted to poems by Sara Teasdale. Despite his contributions, Turing was ruthlessly persecuted for being gay. Sample "Gordon Brown's Apology" to get a bit of the quite hard-hitting effect of this work. Will Todd's Ode to a Nightingale, by contrast, might have been a song in another world, but here it is designated as Choral Symphony No. 4. With what is apparently an actual nightingale on hand in the recording, it is compelling in its own way although the link between text and texture is less strong than in the McCarthy work. The Hertfordshire Chorus, which commissioned both these works, has clearly taken the time to master them under its conductor, David Temple, and the resulting performances are sympathetic. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the state of the art of contemporary British choral music in an accessible vein.
© TiVo

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James McCarthy: Code Breaker & Will Todd: Ode to a Nightingale

Julia Doyle

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1
Codebreaker: Opening
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:00:56

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

2
Codebreaker: Wondrous Light
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:03:00

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

3
Codebreaker: Gordon Brown's Apology
Julia Doyle
00:03:57

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Julia Doyle, MainArtist - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

4
Codebreaker: Song of Songs
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:03:46

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

5
Codebreaker: Deep is the Night
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:03:14

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

6
Codebreaker: Enough
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:02:49

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

7
Codebreaker: I Shall Meet Him Again
Julia Doyle
00:03:40

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Julia Doyle, MainArtist - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

8
Codebreaker: Outbreak of War
The BBC Concert Orchestra
00:02:41

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - James McCarthy, Composer

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

9
Codebreaker: At Sea
Julia Doyle
00:08:06

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Julia Doyle, MainArtist - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

10
Codebreaker: De Profundis
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:09:28

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

11
Codebreaker: A Mother's Lament
Julia Doyle
00:03:43

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Julia Doyle, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

12
Codebreaker: If Death is Kind
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:06:44

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - James McCarthy, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

13
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: Introduction
The BBC Concert Orchestra
00:03:09

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist - Will Todd, Composer

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

14
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: My Heart Aches
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:02:57

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - Will Todd, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

15
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: O For a Draught of Vintage
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:01:59

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - Will Todd, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

16
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: Fade Far Away
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:04:20

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - Will Todd, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

17
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: Away! Away!
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:02:31

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - Will Todd, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

18
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: I Cannot See
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:03:03

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - Will Todd, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

19
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: Darking I Listen
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:04:31

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - Will Todd, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

20
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: Thou Wast Not Born for Death
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:02:08

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - Will Todd, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

21
Choral Symphony No. 4, Ode to a Nightingale: Forlorn!
Hertfordshire Chorus
00:06:40

David Temple, Conductor - BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra - Will Todd, Composer - Hertfordshire Chorus, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Signum Records (P) 2017 Signum Records

Album review

The two choral works on this double album are not exactly similar in style. Although they fall broadly into the neo-tonal, contemporary British choral school, they are quite different in effect and in the harmonic-melodic spheres they inhabit. And this is exactly what makes the combination work. Both works set texts that might be expected to be occupied by other forces, yet both rely on the strength and familiarity of the British choral tradition to get their points across. James McCarthy's Codebreaker is operatic in nature; it's a kind of oratorio in which the story of British mathematician Alan Turing, who made major contributions to the World War II effort as a codebreaker, is ingeniously fitted to poems by Sara Teasdale. Despite his contributions, Turing was ruthlessly persecuted for being gay. Sample "Gordon Brown's Apology" to get a bit of the quite hard-hitting effect of this work. Will Todd's Ode to a Nightingale, by contrast, might have been a song in another world, but here it is designated as Choral Symphony No. 4. With what is apparently an actual nightingale on hand in the recording, it is compelling in its own way although the link between text and texture is less strong than in the McCarthy work. The Hertfordshire Chorus, which commissioned both these works, has clearly taken the time to master them under its conductor, David Temple, and the resulting performances are sympathetic. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the state of the art of contemporary British choral music in an accessible vein.
© TiVo

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