Jonathan Dove wrote 'There Was a Child' as a tribute to a friend’s son who died tragically young. Filled with both joyous celebration and heartfelt emotion, it’s a big, warm-hearted modern masterpiece in the spirit of Britten and Vaughan Williams – following in an evergreen English tradition and featuring the combined forces of the CBSO and CBSO Chorus, Youth Chorus and Junior Chorus with soloists Joan Rodgers and Toby Spence.
“It all plays to Dove's trademark strengths: the young choirs draw on his community music prowess and his approachable idiom shows his willingness to refract a multiplicity of influences..In this live performance of its premiere, conductor Simon Halsey's CBSO forces savour the music's immediacy.”
4th August 2012
“[Rodgers and Spence are] unashamedly emotional and soul-baring, the lion’s share falls to the choruses, with radiant contributions from the CBSO’s various youth affiliates...There Was a Child is a major addition to the choral repertoire. Easy on the ear as well as uplifting, it deserves to be taken up by orchestras and choral societies on both sides of the Atlantic.”
“This live recording…could hardly be more powerful or evocative, with sharp definition of the different textures, choral and orchestral, with children’s voices most moving of all. It would be surprising if Dove's touching inspiration did not inspire local choral societies to give it regular airings, encouraged by this fine recording.”
“This is a live recording of an astonishingly assured performance...One might have preferred a less operatic voice than that of Joan Rodgers in this work, but this fine singer's performance is nonethless a most affecting one. Toby Spence has more to do, and he is ardent and passionate.”
“this is a significant work, one of the most important works I have heard in the last decade. I was very touched by the music and the performance.”