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Hyperion Records

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Tree by Charlie Baird (b1955)
Track(s) taken from CDA67818
Recording details: January 2010
St Alban's Church, Holborn, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2010
Total duration: 7 minutes 57 seconds

'His music has a timeless and highly atmospheric quality. Textures and nuances are used with great perception … the effect on the listener is best summed up as being one of 'contemplative meditation'. Rupert Gough has wrought wonders with his Egham choristers. Their tone glows warmly, with a firm bass-line and bell-like top soprano and tenor lines. Pitching is spot-on and climaxes are beautifully controlled  … the sumptuous swimming acoustic of St Alban's, Holborn, is perfect for this delicious music' (Gramophone)

'Vytautas Miškinis might be the best thing to happen to choral societies since Morten Lauridsen … the Choir of Royal Holloway sing with excellent intonation and blend' (International Record Review)

'The clarity and translucence of Royal Holloway's young voices, expertly trained and throroughly prepared for this demanding job, ideally suits Miškinis' infinitely subtle art. Gough and his choristers are outstanding … exquisite in their hypnotic contrasts and folk-like purity' (Classic FM Magazine)

Oi šala, šala 'Oh, it's getting cold'
composer
1994
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Oi šala, šala (Oh, it’s getting cold) is a remarkable example of economy of means—an evocative extended piece emerging from relatively few melodic fragments. The repetition of ‘šala’, with its deliberate emphasis on the ‘sh’ sound, evokes the shivers of a hard winter. This texture stops for ‘Padange nušvito nakti, Patekejo zvaigzdes degti’ (The sky lights up at night, and shines with the rising stars), where three voices echo each other from on high. Another solo voice narrates the next section which has a ritualistic feel with the addition of a bell to mark the end of each phrase. The final line, ‘Ka laposi azuoleli?’, is hard to translate, but relates back to the pagan belief that when ancestors died their souls would live in a tree. The life of a young man is therefore compared to the growing branches of an oak tree. This ancient symbolism is not lost on contemporary Lithuanians, hence the name of the Lithuanian Boys’ Choir, run by Miškinis: Azuoliukas.

from notes by Rupert Gough © 2010

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