Daydreams on a Velvet Lounge
The New I Voci Singers
reviewed by Neville Cohn
Although the programs of John Christmass’ New I Voci Singers are most heavily weighted in favour of the classical repertoire ranging from the renaissance to the present day with a focus on sacred music and madrigals as well as a variety of folk songs, many of its performances in recent years have been leavened by a bracket of classical pops. At the suggestion of many, Christmass has placed 19 of these close-harmony, classical-pop delights on compact disc. And not before time; this collection provides near-untrammelled listening pleasure.
Recorded in the fine acoustic environment of Perth Concert Hall, this collection is a delight from first note to last.
Listen to Deep Purple; it’s close to perfection and enhanced by Tim Cunniffe’s discreet, idiomatic piano accompaniment. Smoke Gets in your Eyes is informed by a wistful melancholy that is the perfect response to the music. And Tea for Two makes for irresistibly toe-tapping listening.
There’s an exquisite arrangement of Blue Moon; the performance is as fresh as the morning. In Georgia on my Mind, however, there is some loss of intonational precision. But this is a small departure from the general excellence of the collection which is enhanced time and again by the quality of the instrumental accompaniments. In Tuxedo Junction, for instance, Cunniffe at the piano and Chris Boyder on double bass contribute to a near-flawless assessment of the music. It is beautifully sung.
Christmass’ direction secures any number of memorable moments, not least in Begin the Beguine, the notes of which are clothed in the most agreeably limpid tone.
Neville Cohn Copyright 2005