Tim Hughes falls under the sublime spell of Oxford-raised a capella trio Voice

  • Voice
  • Musical Harmony
  • voicetrio.co.uk

WHILE the party people were getting down to a banging line-up of rock, pop and Americana at Truck Festival, last Friday, an altogether more serene musical gathering was taking place back in Oxford.
An a capella trio called simply Voice played to a captivated audience in the appropriate setting of St John the Evangelist Church.
For many people there, this was their first experience of the extraordinary vocal talents of Victoria Couper, Clemmie Franks and Emily Burn. But the girls have a strong local bond - having met in the city while singing with the Oxford Girl’s Choir under Richard Vendome.
Now the girls have released their debut album (recorded here in the city at Bartlemas barn) and it’s every bit as lovely as their live performances. Hypnotic in its ethereal beauty and uncluttered clarity, it is inspired by the music of the German medieval abbess Hildegard of Bingen but embraces more diverse themes and settings.
The three voices alternately intertwine and separate, with each singer finding their own pitch and timbre, creating an almost impossibly-gorgeous braid of sound which at times sounds too pure to be real.
Sung in English and Latin, it encompasses archaic and more recent pieces, including a number by the composer Helen Chadwick setting a poem by Christina Rossetti to music, which was specifically written for the trio. Other pieces were written by the girls themselves, while the album closes with a suitably soporific lullaby from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
If close harmony and ecclesiastical music are your thing, you will love what these three singers have created. If it is not, I would urge you to seek out this album and give it a listen. This is a stunning body of work destined to prick up the hairs on the back of one’s neck, and I would defy anyone to listen and not be moved by this soothing 13-song slice of musical enlightenment.