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Stay With Me- Libera

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I know we all love Libera and there probably isn't a thing I could say about them that hasn't already been posted here on the board, but I have found, as I grow older, that I cry far more easily now than I used to and a song that never fails to literally bring tears to my eyes is this work from Libera's "Free" album. All of their music is beautiful, but this one has a more contemporary feel and beat to it that I find very appealing and different from their other songs. Along with "I Vow to Thee, My Country," this is my favorite of their songs. I wanted to share it with you.

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We have spoken about Libera many times here in the forum, and like Free Thinker I think that they are the most outstanding boy's choir in the business. Their sound is evocative and emotional even though the cast of boys is constantly changing they set a high standard.

Although the boys names are tossed around on the net, their lives are otherwise pretty anonymous, and that's a good thing. But often the lush sound of a soloist makes me wonder how they came to sing that song and what they feel about performing the music. Some years ago they produced a live concert and it is available on DVD as Angel Voices. A startlingly clear image of the boys performing, it also allows the viewer to see their faces up close and get a glimpse of emotion.

So back in 2005 they began performing a song named Far Away and the soloist was a young Michael Horncastle (have to love those English names). His performance in the video available online is flawless and the song became his signature piece. Here it is:


All right, let's jump ahead. Like all the boys, Michael grows up, his voice changes and another soloist replaces him in this song. On the Angel Voices DVD that would be Tom Cully who would go on to become one of the top soloists Libera ever produced. But least you forget Michael, he is there in that concert singing backup in the low parts.

If you view the link below of that presentation just know that the image on the DVD is far clearer and yet you will see why I am writing all this. They sing Far Away in the concert and Michael is one of the three older boys in the background (the one on the far left) as Tom Cully sings the solo. But I want to call your attention to a detail at 1:30 in the video.

The camera lens captures the image of Michael standing over Tom's shoulder as he sings and what to me is a moment of pure emotion as Michael watches another boy sing what was his song. Michael swallows hard and his mouth spreads in a smile that seems to choke back the emotion he must be feeling at that moment. From what I have seen this is one of the last concerts in which Michael performs with the choir, that would be an emotional moment for anyone. Look for yourself:


It's good to have emotional moments when listening to music. Emotion is what evokes the many passions in life, and for most of us that would include the writing of stories. For the English boys who sing in Libera, all the recordings and videos allow their minds to reflect on what was glorious when they were young, and that is a very good thing for the rest of us.

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A bit late for Michael, since he seems already to have entered puberty. As far as I know this practice is illegal in the modern era. (But who knows what goes on behind the closed doors of salons in Asia and the East?) We would have to settle for countertenors like Philippe Jarrusky, were it not for choirs like Libera, continually refreshed with wonderful boy singers.

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I wonder if anyone else can remember the precise moment at which their voice broke?

It was a Carol Service for my sister's Brownie Pack. It was a carol for the audience to join in, and as it got into its stride I waited for the point for a descant to join in. Prepared to soar up and away above the adults, and ... absolutely nothing! It had gone. I was quite devastated.

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