For interest here is a list of all discontinued recordings made since 1951 when the choir was founded. As suggested, these are no longer available for purchase new, but you could always try a second hand record shop!!
This, the Choir’s 31st recording includes a wide and extremely varied range of music which has delighted the Choir’s audiences wherever it travels. The content of this recording ranges from classics such as Rachmaninov’s “Bogoroditse Devo” (Ave Maria) – through modern arrangements by Bob Chilcott and Jonathan Willcocks to up-tempo items by Gershwin and spirituals by Jester Hairston. The Gershwin items – “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “Fascinating Rhythm”, together with “Oh, Happy Day” are greatly enhanced by the addition of guitar, bass, and drums. Also included are items by two of the Choir’s popular soloists. The title song “We Rise Again” is appropriate now that the Choir is well into its second half-century. Sit back, and enjoy this delightfully eclectic mix of all that is good in choral music.
The album reflects two important aspects of the choir’s work. The first is the continuation of the tradition of Scottish folksong, a legacy inherited from The Orpheus. Thus Hugh S. Roberton’s arrangement of ‘Dream Angus’ for The Orpheus Choir finds itself alongside Peter S. Shand’s arrangement of ‘John Anderson My Jo’ made recently for The Phoenix. The Scottish Songs on the album range from the traditional psalm tune of ‘Brother James’ Air’ through love lyrics such as ‘Annie Laurie’, ‘Loch Lomond’ and ‘Corn Riggs’ (this definitely not concerning unrequited love) to historical ballads and martial songs including ‘Scots Wha’ Hae’, ‘The Campbells are Comin’ and ‘The Lament of Mary Queen of Scots’. The second aspect of the choir’s work illustrated here involves the folksong of countries outwith Scotland. Over the years a great many such songs from all over the world have found their way into The Phoenix repertoire. Only a few songs from this eclectic group could be included here, but still the variety is impressive. ‘The Little Cherry Tree’ from the USSR, ‘Death, O Death, O Me Lawd’, ‘Time for Man Go Home’ and ‘All My Trials Lord’, from the West Indies, ‘In the Wheatfield’ from Wales, ‘Tumbalalaika’ from Israel and finally ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’, ‘Shenandoah’ and ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ from the USA, all these at least giving a flavour of the choir’s international repertoire. This blend of old and new is a standard feature of the many concerts given by the choir. We hope that it will appeal to you as much as it does to the many thousands who hear the choir every year. The conductor for this recording was Peter Shand.
This recording includes many of the favourites heard on these occasions, such as “Mice and Men”, an irreverent parody of the Scottish metrical psalm and gentle satire upon presbyterianism; “Ride the Chariot” with its joyous syncopations, and “Far Away”, the choir’s own version of the universally popular “Londonderry Air”. While on tour the choir always tries to pay compliment to the host audiences by performing music from the country in which they are singing. Examples on the present recording include “O Mary don’t you weep” and “Deep River”,both Negro spirituals from America; “I know where I’m goin'”, an especial favourite with Irish audiences and “Brigg Fair”, Percy Grainger’s fine arrangement of the beautiful English folk song. The choir has not yet had the opportunity to visit the Russia but should the occasion arise then “Kaleenka” would surely be a popular item in the programmes. This recording was made with Peter Shand as conductor and Stewart Henderson as accompanist.
“While it may seem academic to introduce in print another new album by the famous Glasgow Phoenix Choir (and this is their 19th) each time I hear a new record by this great Scottish choir the urge is there to write in their praise. Now in their 29th. year, the Phoenix have behind them a long and impressive list of countries successfully visited, including the United States of America (twice); Canada, Germany, Ireland, England and of course the length and breadth of Scotland, bringing back many trophies and countless warm and lasting friendships. Indeed they have blazed new international trails in the finest Scottish choral tradition: a tradition that goes back to the beginning of this century of ours; a singing tradition that has placed the City of Glasgow firmly on the world’s musical maps for all time. Nor do they forget their home supporters: every spring and winter they pack Glasgow’s huge City Hall for three nights in the week, each night a memorable festival of song.
The conductor of the Glasgow Phoenix Choir is Peter Mooney, recently retired as Music Master of a well-known Lanarkshire school: a man truly dedicated to choral music at its highest level; his voice can be heard introducing the various items on this record; he it was who guided the Choir in bringing home two major BBC trophies plus two big awards from the Cork International Competitions.
For myself, having attended many of the Phoenix Choir rehearsals and concerts, both here and abroad, and their numerous broadcasting and recording sessions, from the sidelines 1 am always struck by the tremendous sincerity and the deep concentration this great Choir and its conductor put into their work. Everything Mr. Mooney and his merry men and maids from Strathclyde perform is done with such heart and soul; this tribute from an Edinburgh man to these, my friends from Glasgow, is the highest accolade that can be paid. When you listen to this, the latest record release of the Glasgow Phoenix Choir, you will surely agree.”
The Glasgow Phoenix Choir has from its formation in 1951, steadily developed to become one of the very great ‘European Choirs’ in the particular type of expressive singing for which the group is so deservedly known. The lilt and music of the Scottish phrase, flowing, communicative and naturally structured, hold the secret of the success of the Phoenix, in connecting the listener to the true heart and identity of the music performed. Perhaps this ability to sincerely sing from the heart as a community, yet still be individual and vital in approach, is the human native quality in which the singers successfully carry the image of Scotland far beyond its shores. At any rate, wherever the ‘Phoenix’ sings, they make friends and build the links of identity with friends, unfolding the true function of music in our society. The Choir has a very large support in America and Germany as well as in the United Kingdom, built up from concert tours in these countries over the past twenty years and supported now by records and tapes. As the title indicates this new release gives you a collection of the highlights, through which this support was accomplished.