Day 264 - Why are British Choirs the finest?

It sounds like an appalling piece of British exceptionalism which, you might say, we can well do without. But it is inarguably true. Composers such as Eric Whitacre and James MacMillan write beautiful and unbelievably difficult music confident that British Choral singers will eat them for breakfast. Why? It goes back to the extraordinary tradition of the choral foundations at the cathedrals where services are sung every day to a professional level by boys as young as 8 and lay-clerks who dash in at the end of a days work. This is buttressed by the extraordinary set of Oxbridge chapel choirs staffed by undergraduates who learn remarkable sightreading skills. Rehearsals are not there to learn notes, that bit is taken for granted before the rehearsal starts. This feeds into a professional session singing scheme unlike anywhere else in the world. Here is the roll call of the most striking of todays crop: Stile Antico, Tenebrae, The Gesualdo Six, The Sixteen, Sansara, The Tallis Scholars, The Marian Consort, The Orlando Consort, Cardinall's Musick

To hear Roderick Williams on Britain and Choral singing visit BBC Radio 4 here

And if you want a wonderful sound bath you can access lots of wonderful British Choral singing at Live from London

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