James Bowman: Thus Angels Sung


A collection of favourites chosen and performed by James Bowman and Malcolm Archer.

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About this release

“There is absolutely no rhyme or reason behind the selection of pieces on this recording, and this is intentional. Every piece was chosen at random, simply because I happened to like them and wanted to record them.” James Bowman

Performer’s Notes

I have been lucky enough to have had a recording career that started over forty-five years ago, having made my first recording for His Master’s Voice, with King’s College Choir in 1967. Since then I have made some 180 recordings, stretching from black discs through tape cassettes, to CDs. Actually, I made my original demo recording on a wax disc, and this was sent to David Willcocks in Cambridge for his approval.

At the end of a recording career there are always pieces lurking at the bottom of the barrel that you wanted to record, but somehow they never seemed to fit into the scheme of things. So here are those ‘Odds & Ends’ and I have to admit they make a very disparate collection. The only pieces actually written for counter-tenor are the three songs by Malcolm Archer and the little Grace before Dinner by Christopher Moore. Other pieces have been transposed and rearranged to suit my voice. Read more

About the artists

James Bowman

The English counter-tenor, James (Thomas) Bowman, has been one of the world’s leading counter-tenors for nearly 30 years; his career spans opera, oratorio, contemporary music and solo recitals.

James Bowman was educated at New College, Oxford, receiving his Diploma in Education in 1964 and M.A. in History in 1967. He began singing as a chorister at Ely Cathedral and later went to New College, Oxford, where he was a member of the chapel choir. He also received vocal instruction in London from De Rentz and Manen.

As the result of an audition, James Bowman was invited by Benjamin Britten to sing at the opening concert of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in March 1967, and this marked his London debut. He was soon in demand on both the opera stage and the concert platform, appearing at Sadler’s Wells in 1967 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), at Glyndebourne in 1970 (La Calisto), the English National Opera in 1971 (Semele), and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1972 (Taverner). Among his numerous opera engagements abroad mention should be made of Paris (L’Opéra, L’Opéra Comique and Théatre des Champs Elysées), La Scala, Milan, La Fenice, Venice and the Festival of Aix en Provence. In Australia he has appeared at the Sydney Opera House and in the USA at San Francisco, Dallas and Santa Fe.

James Bowman’s concert career is equally wide-ranging; in Europe he is well known as a recitalist, and has a large following. In 1992 the French government honoured him with admission to ‘L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ and he was awarded the Medal of Honour of the city of Paris in recognition of long-standing contribution to the musical life of the city. He has given the world premiere of many important contemporary compositions, including works by Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett, Peter Maxwell Davies, Richard Rodney Bennett, Robin Holloway, Geoffrey Burgon, Michael Nyman and Alan Ridout. He was appointed a CBE in the 1997 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Malcolm Archer

Malcolm Archer has had a distinguished career in church music. He held the post of Organist and Director of Music at Bristol, Wells and St Paul’s Cathedral. He was subsequently Director of Chapel Music at Winchester College for eleven years.

Malcolm studied as an RCO scholar at the Royal College of Music and was Organ Scholar at Jesus College Cambridge. His organ teachers were Ralph Downes, Gillian Weir and Nicolas Kynaston.

As an organist and harpsichordist he is in frequent demand. He has given solo concerts all over the world, including the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Europe. His performances with orchestra have included Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and the Bach keyboard concertos. Malcolm has also performed with the London Symphony Orchestra in a classic rock concert in the Royal Albert Hall. Moreover, he has an extensive concert repertoire and has recorded a wide variety of works including J.S. Bach organ works and Messiaen’s La Nativité du Seigneur. Read more

CD Booklet
  • The Song of Angels - Orlando Gibbons
  • Oculi Omnium - Christopher Moore
  • Hide not thou thy Face - Richard Farrant
  • Sion's Daughter - Malcolm Archer
  • The Holy Boy - John Ireland
  • My Sweet Darling - William Byrd
  • I Saw a Maiden - Edgar Petman
  • Lullaby - Cyril Scott
  • Sweet and Low - Malcolm Williamson
  • When Jesus Christ was yet a child - Malcolm Archer
  • Drop, Drop Slow Tears - Malcolm Archer
  • The Bellman's Song - Malcolm Archer
  • Evenfall - Humphrey Clucas
  • Dirge for Fidele - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • The Trees They Grow So High - Benjamin Britten
  • The Rain it Raineth Every Day - Charles Villiers Stanford
  • How Should I Your True Love Know - Roger Quilter
  • Where Corals Lie - Edward Elgar
  • O Nata Lux - Thomas Tallis
  • Corpus Christi Carol - Benjamin Britten
  • The Call - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Turn Thy Face From My Sins - Thomas Attwood
  • Come, Holy Ghost - Thomas Attwood
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Catalogue number: CR019

Counter-tenor James Bowman
Piano / Organ Malcolm Archer

Cover Image Lynne Jayne Jenkins
Photography Tom Kuglin
Engineering Adaq Khan
Mastering Adaq Khan
Producer Andrew King
Creative Director John Bevan
Executive Producer Adrian Green

Recorded 28, 29, 31 August, 2012, 28 August, 2013
Venue Croydon Minster, London
Total Duration 56 mins

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