This ‘songbook’ is unique to the Schola Cantorum choristers of Tewkesbury Abbey. “Essentially, it’s a showcase for the Abbey trebles,” their Director of Music Benjamin Nicholas explains. “We’ve been assembling our own 'Songbook' for quite a while now – the songs the trebles sing, from time to time, in boys-only concerts, and which they are taught in individual singing lessons. I’ve always been keen to build each boy up as a soloist, not necessarily with the express idea of them singing lots of solos, but so that they can learn to sing in a soloistic way.”
This is evident most of all in the distinctive singing of 11-year-old Laurence Kilsby, whose gifts won him the BBC Chorister of the Year competition in 2009. On this recording, he features as soloist in two Shelley settings by Roger Quilter, the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria and in John Ireland’s beautiful, sincerely-felt Passiontide motet Ex Ore Innocentium from 1944.
Awards Issue 2011
“Throughout, the trebles of the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum give excellent performances of impressive consistency under the leadership of their director, Benjamin Nicholas. They have an uninhibited, fresh sound, coupled with the skill to sustain lengthy phrases with even tone...[Kilsby] displays tremendous maturity both in vocal timbre and in his musicianship...I can foresee a glittering future for him.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.