Cantabile – The London Quartet

Vocal ensemble

At a glance

Cantabile – The London Quartet

Vocal ensemble

One of the finest vocal groups in Europe
Classic FM

http://www.cantabile.com/

The London Quartet has long been recognised to be one of Britain’s great vocal groups. Founded in Cambridge as a purely a cappella student group, they first came to prominence in the Tim Rice musical Blondel in London’s West End. Since then, the group has pursued a policy of constant and dynamic renewal, pushing back musical frontiers, exploring ever-new territories and attracting a substantial following right across the musical spectrum, both in Europe and further afield.

Biography —

The London Quartet has long been recognised to be one of Britain’s great vocal groups. Founded in Cambridge as a purely a cappella student group, they first came to prominence in the Tim Rice musical Blondel in London’s West End. Since then, the group has pursued a policy of constant and dynamic renewal, pushing back musical frontiers, exploring ever-new territories and attracting a substantial following right across the musical spectrum, both in Europe and further afield.

The London Quartet has appeared in a huge variety of venues, singing programmes encompassing early polyphony through to jazz and contemporary music. They have toured extensively—from the United States to South Africa to Southeast Asia and the Far East. They have sung in the most prestigious venues for the most prestigious clientèle, including Buckingham Palace for Her Majesty the Queen.

The London Quartet’s itinerary has taken them to such distant places as Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Sweden, Greece, Russia, Barbados, Hawaii and Tahiti. They have presented their programme in French, German, Italian, Castilian, Catalan, Russian, Greek, Turkish, Romanian, Estonian, Latvian, Portuguese, Flemish and Korean.

They are the first Artists in Residence at the Bridewell Theatre in London, where they have presented several shows.

Over the recent past the group’s schedule has been characteristically full and varied. They launched the celebrations in Germany to mark the tercentenary of the Personal Union between Britain and the House of Hannover, and, for the third year in succession, helped create a major festival in Alba Iulia in Romania. Nearer to home they were featured all three programmes of the BBC TV series, Rule Britannia!, and appeared in two runs at The Crazy Coqs cabaret at Piccadilly Circus in the heart of London. In the sphere of private events, they entertained at the largest-ever gathering of Rolls-Royce owners in Munich and sang at the launch in Bucharest of the BMW i8. They wrote and performed special songs at events ranging from a large gathering in the City of London of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, to a gala commemoration at the British Embassy in Paris on Waterloo Day to an intimate dinner of top media people in London to mark the retirement of the CEO of the Crédit Agricole.

Other recent highlights include a special trip to California to open the Ventura Music Festival, the quartet’s third tour of the Channel Islands, launching the new concert season at the Château Roubine in Provence and a special concert in Eskişehir in Turkey. Their programme for 2016 has largely consisted of touring in Spain, Belgium and in Germany, where they have premiered their new interactive ‘MitSing’ programme.

The London Quartet has also been busy preparing and recording its eighteenth album, A Song for Christmas, on the Champs Hill Records label, scheduled for release in time for Christmas 2016. Their previous CD for Champs Hill, Songs of Love and War, was nominated for a CARA award in the United States.

The first anthology of the London Quartet’s musical arrangements, The Great British A Cappella Songbook, is published by Edition Peters.

News —

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Credit © Jonathan KnowlesDownload - 1.4 MB

Reviews —

My favourite vocal group

Sir Tim Rice

One of the finest vocal groups in Europe

Classic FM

Sophisticated comedy... a touch of class

The Times (London)

From Monteverdi to Monty Python

Die Welt

These a cappella guys are fun

The Observer

You guys really thrill me

Dave Brubeck

That wonderful vocal group

Barry Humphries (Dame Edna)

Selected Discography —

Songs of Cricket

An absolute riot for cricket fans, this is quite extraordinary collection of cricket music, including a Village Rondo for piano by Matthew Hoist, great-grandfather of Gustav, believe it or not. Why included? Because the sheet music bears a village scene including cricket match, thought to be the earliest image uniting music and the great game. There are medleys of tv/radio cricket themes, school songs and Australian cricket ditties. Richard Stilgoe is in fabulous form, providing the best laughs of all in numbers such as Lillian Thomson, The Barmy Army and Andy Flower Duet (hilariously borrowing from Lakme’s Flower Duet). An Arvo Part-inspired setting of that best-selling tea towel The Ins and Outs of Cricket is good fun, and although singing The Rules of Cricket to Havergal’s haunting psalm chant is hardly a new idea, it goes down well enough in the mix. Australian sales may be boosted by the Hannon/Walsh number Jiggery-Pokery, recalling that Ball of the Century by which Shane Warne disposed of Mike Gatting (ouch!) at Old Trafford back in 1993. All this plus contributions from chanteuse Eliza Lumley and Rory Bremner in a talk-on part, reliving famous phrases from famous commentaries, plus a re enactment of the never ever to be forgotten Test Match Special ‘corpsing commentators’ episode originally featuring Brian Johnston and Jonathan Agnew – just as side-splitting here. Everywhere the London Quartet expend gallons of good-humoured gusto in the cause (which incidentally will benefit the Lord’s Taverners charity, helping disabled and disadvantaged children). Good, detailed sleeve note/texts material add to the pleasure of an album whose release richly deserved the 2011 Indian Summer. 5 Stars

Choral Music Guide

Lullabyes and Goodbyes

As to the singing … that’s all first class. The four voices blend beautifully and there isn’t a sour note to be heard. Diction is consistently crystal clear … the contribution of Malcolm Martineau is first rate.

MusicWeb

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