'Noteworthy Voices are just that'
- Eastbourne Herald
Noteworthy has already established a fine reputation. It presents rarely performed works for the enjoyment of local audiences.
Sing Joyfully! 7th May 2017- Reviewed by Robin Gregory
St John’s Church, Meads was destroyed by German bombs in the war, and has been rebuilt in a light and beautiful, but traditional, style. Its acoustic, perhaps by chance, is perfect for unaccompanied singing. The choir on this occasion numbered about twenty. From the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the first half of this concert had pieces by Tallis, Tye, Mudd, Byrd, Morley, Bennet, Lawes and Wilbye; the discipline of the choir and the amount of time which had clearly been spent on rehearsal ensured that the large audience was transported to those elegant days. Particularly ravishing were two madrigals by Wilbye.
Part Two began with four contrasting items by Frank Bridge: especially moving was his setting of “Oh weary hearts”, to words by Longfellow. Equally well sung was “The shower”, words by Henry Vaughan, music by Elgar. Holst’s setting of the Cornish folksong “I love my love” was followed by two works by Philip Stopford: it was a revelation to hear, in the choir’s convincing performance of his “Ave Verum”, that the Church of England’s tradition of vocal music-making is alive and well.
The official programme came to an end with Bob Chilcott’s setting of the American spiritual “Steal Away”, and an extraordinary piece by Grayston Ives, intriguingly titled “Name that tune”, in which could be heard ghostly echoes of the Toreador Song from “Carmen”, the 1812 Overture, the Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, Strauss’s “Blue Danube”, and maybe other tunes I failed to spot. Prolonged applause brought forth an encore, in which the youngest male member of the choir was soloist. My guess is that the composer was Ralph Vaughan Williams. (The Turtle Dove).
'Something Old, Something New’ October 2016
Plagiarism may be a problem for musicians today but was normal practise for most musicians throughout history. Handel borrowed widely, including much recycling of his own works. To put together a programme based on these musical connections is therefore both apt and – as it proved to be – highly enjoyable.
The evening opened with works by Morley and Bennett, with their Victorian re-workings. Morley’s Sing we and chant it has a gentle lilt to its line and admirable clarity for the text, which is somewhat lost in the richer harmony brought to it by Robert Pearsall. However his setting of Lay a garland is a strongly evocative piece which harks back wistfully even as it involves us in its melancholy.The first half ended with four of Parry’s Songs of Farewell. Beautiful works, they are still too rarely heard even in this centenary year. The singers brought a rapt attention to detail and fine internal balance throughout.
Noteworthy Voices left the finest piece to the end. Even the glories of early music could not compete with the beauty of Eric Whitacre’s This Marriage. A gentle tribute to the strengths of long-lasting married love its very simplicity is an essential part of its character. Against the pomp and bling of so many weddings, this is a piece which should surely become a staple item for any musician approaching marriage. It was a joy to hear.
Ansy Boothroyd conducted with an easy grace and briefly introduced the items, often letting them speak for themselves. Within the close context of Wilmington’s 12th century church, on a site which has drawn worshippers for thousands of years, this was a highly satisfying evening on both musical and spiritual levels.
Dr Brian Hick, Editor of The Lark
“A Big Thank You to you all for another wonderful evening of harmonious singing done with so much feeling . . . who needs an orchestra when 20 voices are so in-tune . . . a very good programme and the church was packed”
"O Magnum Mysterium, by Morten Lauridsen, with its gentle enfolding of the listener, proved to be as successful as the fine interpretation of Tavener’s The Lamb... The group will be performing again soon and are certainly worth following."
Dr Brian Hicks, Lark Reviews
"If you choose to call your small band of singers “Noteworthy Voices” then you’d better be good. Fortunately their performance in St Nicholas Church, Pevensey soon demonstrated that the title was well-deserved...
Three settings of “O Magnum Mysterium” displayed Noteworthy Voices at their finest. Victoria’s Spanish setting from the sixteenth century contrasted with Poulenc’s and Lauridsen’s from the twentieth... There’s no doubt that Ansy Boothroyd had, on the evidence of this concert, moulded a fine new musical treat for us all to enjoy in the future."
Robin Gregory, Jan 2016
"Whilst equally comfortable in the deceptive simplicity of Tallis and the richer, more challenging harmonies of Bruckner and Parry, it was to some of the secular pieces of the second half that the warm audience reaction seemed to help these talented singers bring extra quality. The clarity of tone and Ensemble in Elgar’s The Shower and Stanford’s The Blue Bird, with its lovely solo sung by Clarissa Philpott, as well as the more jazzy Goodnight Sweetheart were high points indeed. If there were nerves at their first outing or at being just 18 unaccompanied voices throughout, they did not show; Ansy Boothroyd’s introductions and direction brought a confidence and musicality to the whole performance. It was a treat to hear them start their journey of choral exploration and easy to share their excitement at all the fun still to come."
Johnny Aisher, Eastbourne Herald
”Really impressive tuning and dynamics”