Notes & Reviews:
Jonathan Dove wrote There Was a Child as a tribute to a friend's son who died tragically young. Filled with both joyous celebration and heartfelt emotion, it's a big, warm-hearted modern masterpiece in the spirit of Britten and vaughan Williams - following in an evergreen english tradition and featuring the combined forces of the CBSO and CBSO Chorus, Youth Chorus and Junior Chorus with soloists Joan Rodgers and Toby Spence.
Jonathan Dove's There Was a Child is a major addition to the choral repertoire, and will surely be taken up by societies up and down the country, perhaps with reduced orchestration for economy's sake. Emotionally soul-baring, sharing an umbilical cord with Finzi's Intimations of Immortality and even Dies Natalis, this panorama of a young life draws texts from so many fine poets and therefore demands consummate clarity of presentation.
American Record Guide, March / April 2013
In recent years he has gravitated toward choral music and people have noticed. Dove's music never gets in a rut and is, I think, remarkably expressive of the sentiments contained in the poems. It certainly conveys the excitement of a concert event, as well as the extra-careful engineering that works to keep the elements in balance. Toby Spence flatters Dove's every intention in the tenor solos. Soprano Joan Rodgers makes lovely sounds.
Financial Times, 4th August 2012
[Rodgers and Spence are] unashamedly emotional and soul-baring, the lion's share falls to the choruses, with radiant contributions from the CBSO's various youth affiliates...There Was a Child is a major addition to the choral repertoire. Easy on the ear as well as uplifting, it deserves to be taken up by orchestras and choral societies on both sides of the Atlantic.
International Record Review, September 2012
This is a live recording of an astonishingly assured performance...One might have preferred a less operatic voice than that of Joan Rodgers in this work, but this fine singer's performance is nonetheless a most affecting one. Toby Spence has more to do, and he is ardent and passionate.
MusicWeb International, October 2012
This is a significant work, one of the most important works I have heard in the last decade. I was very touched by the music and the performance.
Gramophone Magazine, November 2012
This live recording... could hardly be more powerful or evocative, with sharp definition of the different textures, choral and orchestral, with children's voices most moving of all. It would be surprising if Dove's touching inspiration did not inspire local choral societies to give it regular airings, encouraged by this fine recording.
BBC Music Magazine, April 2013
It all plays to Dove's trademark strengths: the young choirs draw on his community music prowess and his approachable idiom shows his willingness to refract a multiplicity of influences..In this live performance of its premiere, conductor Simon Halsey's CBSO forces savour the music's immediacy.
Recording information: Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England (06/18/2011).
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Works DetailsDove, Jonathan : There Was a Child, oratorio for 2 soloists, triple chorus & orchestra
- Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Joan Rodgers (Soprano)
- Conductor: Simon Halsey
- Ensemble: City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
- Running Time: 49 min. 29 sec.
- Period Time: Contemporary
- Form: Cantata/Oratorio