Over the years, many performances by Risca Male Choir have been recorded; in particular all Annual Concerts since 1987 have entered our archive of live recordings. Our celebration of the Choir’s 40th anniversary in 2010 sent us burrowing through those archives, to compile what has amounted to a double CD album of live performances. In this situation, achieving a studio standard of recording is not easy, particularly with audience noise and other incidental sounds that normally would spoil repeated hearings of a particular track. Indeed, you will still be aware of the audience’s presence, even if only from applause that has been included – or hints of the presence of the phantom foot tapper! In a live performance what you hear is what you get; there is no chance to retake or otherwise enhance as you could in a studio. However, you now experience the excitement of the live event and perhaps the feeling that you are actually at the performance.
The album has also given us the chance to include items the choir has previously not recorded, and so you have an opportunity to hear some of the more unusual repertoire that the choir performs at the Annual Concert. Also included are items from a performance given in Los Angeles in 1987 and extracts from a complete performance of Cherubini’s Requiem given with orchestra in 1994.
We hope that you will enjoy listening to over 20 years’ worth of singing in the life of the choir and perhaps admire the consistency of sound and standard of singing, despite the fact that the number of choristers and actual singing members changed considerably over that time.
In our Annual Concerts we have heard many exceptionally fine soloists and we have two represented here as they join the choir for particular items. We are grateful to bass, Sean Rea, and soprano, Jill Padfield, for giving permission to include their items. We are proud, too, to include our own fine soloist, Andrew Jenkins. We also acknowledge, with thanks, permission from Michael Bell, the Music Director of Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra to include two movements from the Cherubini Requiem.