HE hest of Britain's Catholic choristers, performing together at a special recital at Westminster Cathedral Hall this week, WOO for themselves high praise from a leading French authority on choral music.
Mgr. Beilleiard. President of the French Federation of Sacred Music, said after their concert: "I have not heard anything like this outside the Vienna Boys' Choir. These British boys showed an extremely high degree of vocal and artistic ability."
The concert was given at the end of the annual summer school at the Cathedral organised by Pueri Cantores. Along with the 36 Catholic choristers, average age 12, there were four non-Catholic members of the London Roy Singers. The concert ranged from solo vocal and instrumental items to intricate and difficult madrigals and polyphonic motets.
JONATHAN STEELE For the boys the concert was the grand climax to a fortnight of intensive work at the Cathedral Choir School. For five hours a day they studied voice production. worked on a repertory of liturgical pieces. prepared three High Masses, and studied the rudiments of music.
Working with them were Mr. Jonathan Steele, Director of the London Boy Singers and an expert in voice production: Fr. Derek Rotchford. choirmaster at St. George's Cathedral, Southwark: Mr. Colin Mawby. Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, whose recently composed threepart Mass was sung by the boys at the Cathedral on Sunday morning, and Fr. Wilfrid Purney, national president of Pueri Cantores, FORMATION The aim of the summer school is to revive and develop boys' choirs in the liturgy. Fr. Purney said this week. "Now that everybody is being encouraged to take part in the liturgy and general impression is that there is no longer a place for the choir in the Church. But nothing could be further from the truth.
"The Church wants the congregations to sing but she also urges us to improve the standards of our choirs and music. This movement has not only a liturgical value but is also important for youth formation," he added.