The Fron can look forward to a busy start to their seventh decade on the back of a...
Michael Quinn 2007-11-19
With last year’s debut album selling in double platinum proportions and nominated for a Classical Brits Awards, a follow up from the Fron Male Voice Choir was always an inevitability.
Voices of the Valley Encore arrives in time for the Froncysyllte, North East Wales-based choir’s 60th anniversary and delivers a more-of-the-same compendium to showcase its considerable close harmony talents to attractive effect.
Admirable throughout, under Ann Atkinson’s pointedly measured direction, is a beauty of sound, impressive technique and a sense of ensemble singing to compare with any and all comers.
Jon Cohen’s clever, nimble instrumental accompaniments may appal a cappella purists, but they serve here to frame and underscore a choir clearly at the peak of its form.
The choice of material mixes pop standards (“Yesterday” complete with weeping strings and rippling piano), classic hymns (an “Amazing Grace” that starts in still reflection and concludes with pulpit-thumping lustre), Hollywood soundtracks (a magnificent and moving take on “Exodus” full of emotional grandeur and gravitas) and obligatory Welsh standards (“Suo Gân” delivered with obvious conviction).
Add a touch of opera with a yearning and heartfelt “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from Verdi’s Nabucco, Americana in the form of a suitably epic “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, and a show-stopping encore in a fabulously entertaining take on “The Rhythm of Life” with guest soloist Michael Ball, and the Fron can look forward to a busy start to their seventh decade on the back of a superbly crafted and entertaining recital.