Distributed by: EMI Classics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
New Dawn is the fourth album recorded for EMI Classics by Libera, a British vocal group containing boys between the ages of seven and fourteen chosen from various locations in the London area and coming from a variety of backgrounds. Libera is directed by Robert Prizeman, a musician and composer whose selection of music comes from new compositions by Prizeman and from his unique arrangements of classical or contemporary music. Most of the lyrics of the songs Libera performs come from traditional hymns, the liturgy or contemporary song artists, but sometimes poetry or original lyrics do make an appearance in their repertoire. The group has created numerous recordings, appeared on television and has performed in concert all around the world.
New Dawn begins with Libera’s rendition of Orinoco Flow by Enya. Having been a fan of Enya’s work for many years, I was pleased to discover that the song was on the album and that it wasn’t tampered with in any way, shape or form. Libera’s version of Orinoco Flow is just as enjoyable as the original. Orinoco Flow is not the only contemporary pop song making an appearance on the album. Love and Mercy, a song written by former Beach Boy Brain Wilson, is performed with much solemnity by the group. The album also sports some classic favorites like Ave Maria, Gloria and In Paradisum and some new works created by Robert Prizeman such as Secret and Never Be Alone.
The voices of Libera are angelic and harmonious and the music accompanying the songs as performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra is equally beautiful. When I attend church, I usually enjoy masses which contain a great deal of singing. The music of a church choir is always beautifully soothing to me. This is the effect of the performances by Libera in the album New Dawn. Close your eyes and you will imagine yourself at church, listening to a choir of young boys singing positive and uplifting pieces for your enjoyment. Each of the songs will contain a special meaning for the listeners. The original lyrics of Love and Mercy, Rest in Peace and Never Be Alone send listeners a message of hope in the midst of strife. Songs like Orinoco Flow, Air and May the Road Rise Up will have a freeing effect. My only complaint about this album would be the performance of Ave Maria. Having always loved this song, I found it hard to enjoy Libera’s version. The high-pitched performance of Ave Maria took something away from the intrinsic beauty of the tune.
The CD comes with a booklet featuring pictures of the various young performers and lyrics from each of the songs found in the album. Placing the New Dawn CD into your computer CD player will allow you to register with the EMI Classics Club. As a member of this club, you will enjoy access to bonus materials, exclusive pre-release listening sessions and more.
The youthful and angelic tones of the members of Libera combined with the beauty of the musical compositions that accompany the choir serve to create a very enjoyable experience. The combination of liturgical pieces and contemporary music brings a uniqueness to Libera’s sound. The uplifting messages found in the lyrics of each song in New Dawn make listening to the album a truly positive experience. New Dawn is definitely highly recommended to all those who can appreciate the sounds of a well-directed and harmonious choir and the beauty of the messages they express through song.