Hitting the high notes with album

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Hitting the shelves today (Friday) is a new album by Scotland’s top girls choir, and featuring on the bill are two lovely ladies from Arbroath.

‘Only A Singing Bird’, by the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) Girls Choir, has been produced to coincide with the 20th anniversary of NYCoS, and as well as featuring two local talents also showcases some previously unrecorded music.

Topping the playlist is the first ever recording of the late Michael Head’s song-cycle ‘Snowbirds’, as well as works by Gary Carpenter, Ken Johnston and Stephen Deazley.

Singing in the choir is Bella Robb from Arbroath, and the choristers are joined by their patron, international mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, also from Arbroath, and pianist Philip Moore.

Karen said: “This is a beautiful collection of songs. I have very fond memories of performing some of Head’s pieces at singing competitions when I was younger, and this gave me a chance to revisit them whilst being involved with the incredible voices of the National Girls Choir. They are fantastic ambassadors for singing in Scotland.”

The central song-cycle, Snowbirds, demonstrates Head’s passion and proficiency for sensitive and effective word setting. It comprises seven songs based on the 1919 publication of the same name by Brahmin poet Sri Ananda Acharya. Alongside this are the composer’s most popular works, ‘The Ships of Arcady’ and ‘The Little Road to Bethlehem’. In April 2015, NYCoS National Girls Choir gave the world premier of Gary Carpenter’s work featured on this disc, ‘The Food of Love – Book 2’, based on text by William Shakespeare.

This is the ensemble’s third album on the Signum Classics label conducted by Christopher Bell, and is priced £10.