Voces8 - Enchanted Isle (W/c 21/01/19)
Celebrated vocal group VOCES8 take listeners on a glorious journey through the musical landscape of Britain with their brand new album ‘Enchanted Isle’, released on Decca Classics. The recording features a broad range of music from John Tavener and Thomas Adès to Radiohead and Enya, interspersed with folk tunes, world premiere recordings and music from hit TV shows Game of Thrones and Harry’s Game.
Alongside timeless folk songs are modern hits, the new album includes Radiohead’s ‘Pyramid Song’ (from the band’s fifth studio album Amnesiac) which takes on a new dimension in this arrangement for voices, harp and strings. VOCES8 also cover ‘The Rains of Castamere’ from Game of Thrones – a piece which was first recorded for the HBO series by The National and Sigur Rós. There is also ‘I Was Born For This’ from the Grammy-nominated video game score Journey, composed by Austin Wintory, and the haunting theme from British TV drama Harry’s Game – originally written and performed by Irish band Clannad.
VOCES8 bring their distinctive vocals to folk tunes from around the British Isles – from Celtic classics ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘The Parting Glass’ to ‘Carrickfergus’, featuring the astonishing young Irish singer Sibéal (who sings in the traditional sean-nós style). The album also reaches as far afield as the abandoned Scottish island of St Kilda, with the recently-discovered tune ‘Soay’ – in a new arrangement by British composer Rebecca Dale, which includes a poignant cello solo. Other Scottish tunes to appear on the album are ‘My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose’ arranged by Latvian choral composer Ēriks Ešenvalds, and ‘Caledonia’ by Dougie MacLean, arranged by VOCES8’s own tenor Blake Morgan.
There are two world premiere recordings on the new album: VOCES8 commissioned young English composer Toby Hession to write a new a cappella choral work ‘She Walks in Beauty’; and there’s the debut recording of a new arrangement of ‘The Sun Never Says’ by American composer Dan Forrest – a stirring work for choir and solo cello. Fellow American choral writer Jake Runestad also features on the album with ‘Let My Love Be Heard’ – a setting of a text by English 19th century poet Alfred Noyes.
Completing the album are powerful choral pieces including ‘Agnus Dei’, Samuel Barber’s own arrangement of his Adagio for Strings, John Tavener’s ‘Song for Athene’, featuring excerpts from Shakespeare’s Hamlet alongside the traditional Orthodox liturgy, and ‘O Albion’ by Thomas Adès – the first ever arrangement of this movement from his string quartet, Arcadiana, set to text from William Blake’s 18th century poem ‘Visions of the Daughters of Albion’.
Together, this evocative collection of songs casts a contemporary eye on the landscape of rolling hills and green valleys, rugged mountainsides and hidden villages of the ‘Enchanted Isles’, each performed by VOCES8 in their unique, exquisite style.