Hear My Prayer

The recordingís program is wide ranging, and includes classics like Mendelssohnís demanding ìHear My Prayer,î Mozartís ìLaudate Dominum,î and the ìPie Jesuî from Faureís Requiem, chestnuts like Malotteís ìLordís Prayer,î Franckís ìPanis Angelicus,î and Schubertís ìAve Maria,î a number of lesser known works like Michael Headís Christmas jewel, ìThe Little Road to Bethlehem,î or Fred Cowanís ìThe Childrenís Homeî–Victoriana at its most Victorian–and even a pop song or two, for good measure. The program is an old-fashioned one, decidedly lacking in musical sophistication, but remarkably well suited to display the musical gift of a then remarkable young boy.
Jonesí sound is an engaging one, more soloistic than choral, with a vibrato that surprises at first hearing, but that grows increasingly congenial with repeated hearings. He sings with commanding confidence, expressive flair, and a mature sense of line and contoured phrasing, all of which underscore his giftedness. Particularly memorable here is his exquisite rendition of the Faure ìPie Jesuî (unusual in a Welsh translation) and his ìHear My Prayer,î a performance that is dramatic and dynamic, as well as a considerable test of endurance . . . a test he amply survives.
There are problems here and there. Most notable perhaps is that all of the pieces tend to sound stylistically the sameóthe style is uniformly ìAled.î And that, as I have noted, is engaging and impressive, but the uniformity of style seems to underscore the youthfulness of the endeavor. Two of the pieces, the title anthem and the Mozart ìLaudate Dominumî are with choir and organ. And here, ensemble coordination is problematic, with the organ conspicuously out of synch on occasion, and the choir from time to time overly robust in its enthusiasm.
Today Jones is prominent in the UK as both a singer and a broadcaster with the BBC. His days of cassock and ruff and the first row of the choir are long past, but one can only suspect that they have served him well. Certainly he was a boy treble of great distinction.
Steven Plank
Oberlin College

image_description=Hear My Prayer
product_title=Hear My Prayer
product_by=Aled Jones, treble
product_id=Sain SCD 2426 [CD]