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Evidence of the vitality of young people’s choirs around the world comes in the shape of three beautifully sung recitals, the challenging programming of which might tax even more experienced ensembles. The oldest group here, the Czech Philharmonic Children’s Choir, dates from 1932, and during choirmaster Jiří Chvála’s long tenure (he celebrates 50 years at its helm in 2017) its international profile has gone from strength to strength. Forty-eight of its 600-plus voices are heard to fine effect on an eponymously titled two-CD set of time- and genre-spanning pieces, with the lion’s share given over to Czech composers. The luminous quality of seamlessly blended voices shines out in Holst’s Ave Maria, Arvo Pärt’s Zwei Beter and Fauré’s brittle Tantum ergo. But it’s the Czech pieces that catch the ear here, with familiar works by Dvořák, Smetana and Martinů lent lustrous authenticity.

Formed in 1998, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City is clearly an adventurous outfit on the strength of Transient Glory III. It’s also an avid commissioner of new music, and all six works here were composed for the sizeable group – the booklet credits 198 singers. Supported by the Kronos Quartet, the choir is richly evocative in Terry Riley’s Another Secret EQUATION, clearly relishing its nonsense syllables, and sounds idiomatically alive in Paquito D’Rivera’s Puerto Rican-influenced Tembandumba. Demanding pieces by Michael Gordon, Bora Yoon, John Corigliano and Meredith Monk (the mysterious and increasingly animated Things Heaven and Hell) show off an enthusiastic and able ensemble with winning results.

The NYCoS (National Youth Choir of Scotland) National Girls Choir celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with co-founder Christopher Bell leading from the front. Only a Singing Bird features 19 songs, 13 of them by Michael Head, including the charming Snowbirds, together with colourful, nuanced pieces by Gary Carpenter, Ken Johnston and Stephen Deazley (the gleefully playful The Circus). The CD reveals a meticulously integrated choir of mature abilities characterised by tonal delicacy and textual expressiveness. It bodes well for the next 20 years.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing