Tag Archives: New I Voci Singers

Daydreams on a Velvet Lounge The New I Voci Singers

Daydreams on a Velvet Lounge
The New I Voci Singers

Classical Jazz

TPT: 57:01

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

Best of British Perth Pops Orchestra & New I Voci Singers

Best of British


Perth Pops Orchestra & New I Voci Singers
Perth Concert Hall

reviewed by Phoebe Schuman



Using the winning formula he has applied to such remarkable effect over the years, John Christmass marked the tenth anniversary of his Best of British concerts with a program that drew a capacity house, most of whom seemed determined to have a good time. They did just that – if whole-hearted participation in community singing of pub songs is anything to go by. But there was meatier fare than “Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” and “I Do Love To Be Beside the Seaside” on offer, not least the opportunity to listen to soprano Rachelle Durkin who leaves shortly to take up a coveted scholarship at New York’s famed Metropolitan Opera. All eyes and ears were focussed on this young singer, a long-time student of Janice Taylor-Warne. Clear voiced, she was in excellent fettle, especially in “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose”.

Two short unaccompanied items, sung by the New I Voci Singers, were the highpoint of the evening with choir founder John Christmass, who is second to few and better than most as choral trainer, taking his charges through their paces. For clarity of line, quality of harmonic tissue and timbre, this was choral singing to savour. So, too, was Jenny Coleman’s beautifully considered account on the flugel horn of a transcription for the instrument of the slow movement from one of Rodrigo’s concertos for guitar. Another thoroughly worthwhile contribution was Graham Wood’s playing on the violin of Shostakovich’s “Romance” from The Gadfly. Baritone Mark Alderson, too, did well, notably in Sanderson’s Up from Somerset, sung with scrupulous attention to the composer’s requirements.

Events of this nature (requiring, as they do, the most fastidious attention to logistics to run as smoothly as they do), don’t just happen. And the attention to detail that is the hallmark of any Christmass presentation was much in evidence here. In order to create, as closely as possible, an ambience suggestive of the traditional Last Night of the London Proms (on which Best of British presentations are modelled) there were balloons aplenty, coloured streamers, Union Jacks in profusion, some hanging from the balconies, others in the form of little flags left on seats for audience members to wave about, yet more on caps and even waistcoats worn by some of the more flamboyant concertgoers – and cardboard cutouts of Coldstream Guards and Beefeaters.

David Hawkes was compere as well as giving a perhaps excessively over-the-top account of Noel Coward’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

The lion’s share of the conducting of the 50-strong Perth Pops Orchestra fell to Ashley Arbuckle, for many years – as concertmaster – a mainstay of the W.A.Symphony Orchestra. His clear, uncluttered beat did much to ensure the success of the evening

COPYRIGHT © September 2001 ­ Phoebe Schuman

The Silver Swan reviewed by Neville Cohn

New I Voci Singers

The White Swan is a collection of choral miniatures, mainly a capella, sung with the sort of understanding that instantly identifies The New I Voci Singers as a vocal ensemble to be reckoned with. In a variety of styles, in each of which the group sounds entirely at home, this impeccably trained small ensemble responds to direction in a way that many a lesser choral director than the indefatigable and meticulous John Christmass would give eye-teeth to experience. Listen to Dowland’s “Come again!”; it pulsates with vitality and glows with golden sound which makes this frequently performed piece sound fresh and newly minted. Thomas Morley’s “Sing we and chant it” has a splendidly light-toned , buoyant quality, and ceaseless vigilance as to quality of harmonic tissue, which is one of the most crucial yet too-often neglected requirements for fine choral singing. Sound engineer Karl Akers has made the most of Perth Concert Hall’s excellent acoustics.