Libera (music)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article


Libera on stage with their typical white robes during a concert in Houston, 9 August 2011.
Background information
Also known asAngel Voices
OriginLondon, England
GenresClassical Crossover
Years active1995–present
LabelsWarner Classics (1999–2001), EMI Classics (2004–present)
Associated actsAled Jones
Jump to: navigation, search

Libera on stage with their typical white robes during a concert in Houston, 9 August 2011.
Background information
Also known asAngel Voices
OriginLondon, England
GenresClassical Crossover
Years active1995–present
LabelsWarner Classics (1999–2001), EMI Classics (2004–present)
Associated actsAled Jones

Libera is an all-boy English vocal group directed by Robert Prizeman.[1] Most members come from the parish choir of St. Philip's, Norbury, in South London.[2] According to a 2009 Songs of Praise TV special, the group usually consists of approximately 40 members between the ages of seven and sixteen, including new members who are not yet ready to fully participate in albums or tours.[3] The group recruits from a variety of backgrounds in the London area,[1] and does not require its members to belong to any specific denomination.[2]

In addition to recording albums, touring and making regular TV appearances as Libera, the group sings on a weekly basis as part of the full choir of men and boys at parish choral services.[2] Libera is run as a not-for-profit registered UK charity,[1] "providing the opportunity for suitable boys to train as vocalists from any background". Members do not get paid for their work within Libera, but their expenses are covered when touring.[citation needed]

The group's name comes from its signature song. "Libera," which is based on the Libera Me portion of the Requiem Mass.[citation needed] "Libera" is the Latin word for "free".



The Anglican parish of St. Philip's, Norbury has a long choral tradition. Their first non-traditional commercial work was in 1984, when the boys of the St. Philip's Choir backed Sal Solo on his song "San Damiano." In 1987, the boys of St. Philip's Choir released the single "Sing Forever." In 1988, the choir released the single "Adoramus." In 1988, the choir released their first full commercial album, Sing For Ever under the name St. Philip's Choir. The title track for this album was chosen by the BBC as the first Children in Need telethon anthem.

The second album, New Day, released in 1990, was the first album to use the name Angel Voices. During the 1990s, the names "St. Philip's Boy Choir" and "Angel Voices" were both used to refer to the choir. The third album, Angel Voices, was released in 1992. It was re-released in 1993, with the choir referred to as the St. Philip's Boy's Choir. Angel Voices 2 was released in 1996 and Angel Voices 3 was released in 1997. Both were released under the name of St. Philip's Boy's Choir, by the record label MCI.[4][5]

In 1995, Robert Prizeman released a single and a CD entitled Libera. The CD contained seven remixes of his original song, "Libera". The first 4 tracks feature Libera with Daren Geraghty as the main soloist; the last 3 tracks are performed by other artists.[6] In the same year, the choir, calling itself Libera, performed the song on the TV program Sunday Live. In 1999, the choir released another album entitled Libera, published by Warner Classics. From that point on, the choir has been consistently referred to as "Libera" when acting in its commercial capacity. The next Libera album, Luminosa, was released by Warner Classics in 2001. In 2003, Warner Classics re-released Libera and Luminosa as a two CD set entitled Complete Libera. Ever since 2004, Libera has been under contract with EMI. Their first EMI album was Free. Visions came out in 2005. Libera's 2006 album, Angel Voices, was nominated as Album of the Year by the Classical Brit Awards. New Dawn was released in March 2008.[7] In December 2008, they released their first double CD entitled Eternal (The best of Libera) which contains 26 tracks taken from earlier albums and six new tracks. Their album Peace was released in 2010. November 2011 saw the release of Libera: The Christmas Album, this included the song, Oh holy night.

Television appearances and concerts

Libera meet and greet with fans after a concert in Houston.

As Angel Voices, the group made frequent appearances on UK television, mostly on the BBC. During the earlier years as Libera, the group seldom made any TV appearances and concerts were also few and far between. It is only since the group turned into a registered charity in the UK, where a board of trustees consisting largely of parents of members makes all decisions, that Libera have made regular tours (usually three times a year) and more frequent TV appearances.

Major roles in the 1992 TV programme Titchmarsh on Song, presented by Alan Titchmarsh, and the 1993 TV programme Thora on the Straight and Narrow, introduced Angel Voices to a wider public.[8] The show featured the first public performance of the song "De Profundis", which would become "Libera" and give the choir its name. Libera has made numerous music videos for Songs of Praise and Classic FM TV. Other TV appearances include guest spots on GMTV, Blue Peter, Sunday Live, Christmas Cooks, Top of the Pops, Wogan, and Last Choir Standing.[citation needed] In 1994, St. Philip's Choir sang in an episode of the TV series Poirot. In 2003, Libera was the last act to perform on the UK version of the famous TV series This is your Life; they performed for guest Aled Jones. During the episode, it was mentioned that Libera had performed at Aled Jones' wedding. In February 2007, Libera appeared on the television contest When Will I Be Famous presented by Graham Norton on BBC One. They won, and were invited back the following week.[9] Libera has made several TV appearances in Japan and Korea. Libera also recorded the signature tune for Songs of Praise. Their rendition of "How Can I Keep From Singing" was featured on a British television ad for Waitrose.

On 30 and 31 May 2007, Libera recorded two free concert performances at the Pieterkerk in Leiden, Holland, with the cooperation of the American Public Television. Footage from the performances was combined to create the TV special Angel Voices: Libera in Concert. The programme was featured on Public Broadcasting Service channels in the United States and released by EMI on DVD and CD. The DVD includes a bonus feature entitled "Libera in Their Own Words", which features interviews of some of the boys.

A 35-minute special about Libera aired in January 2009 as an episode of the BBC1 TV show Songs of Praise.

Supporting roles

Libera has provided choral backing to a number of artists, including Aled Jones, Björk, Luciano Pavarotti, Hayley Westenra, Peter Skellern, José Carreras, Neil Diamond, Cliff Richard, and Michael Crawford.[8][10] Libera has also sung for several film soundtracks, including Romeo & Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Shadowlands and Hannibal. A movie preview for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button uses a brief selection from one of their songs, but they do not appear in the film's final soundtrack.[11]


Several Libera members have performed solo work outside of Libera while still members of the choir. For example, Tom Cully sang for Silence, Night and Dreams by Zbigniew Preisner,[12][13] and can be heard singing in an episode of the British television series Foyle's War.[14][15] In 2002, Libera member Steven Geraghty was a featured soloist for the soundtrack of the PlayStation 2 game ICO.[16][17][18][19] Libera member Ben Crawley did solo work for Paul Joyce's production of The Snow Queen in 2004.[20][21][22]



Libera has a distinctive sound. All of its singers are boys, most with unchanged boy soprano (also known as treble) voices, with those boys in their early teens singing the lowest parts.[2] Almost all their songs are either new compositions by Robert Prizeman or new arrangements of classical and contemporary tunes. Prizeman often composes and arranges pieces with individual soloists in mind, to emphasize the variety of characteristics and qualities in the boys' voices. His compositions blend innovative textures, meditative soloists and vibrant ecstatic chorus harmonies that stretch across the full range of the boys' range. Libera's music frequently combines elements of Gregorian chant, classical composers such as Debussy, Beethoven and Pachelbel, as well as contemporary pop and new age music. Some of their songs, such as "Sanctus", have appeared in different versions on several of their albums. Some more contemporary songs have been covered by the group, such as Enya's Orinoco Flow.

Most of Libera's lyrics come from traditional hymns, the Latin Rite liturgy, and contemporary songs by artists ranging from Brian Wilson to Enya. However, lyrics from various poems and original lyrics are also used. For example, We are the Lost uses the poems "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae and "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, along with a single stanza from the English hymn, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" by Isaac Watts. While most of the Libera's original lyrics are written by Robert Prizeman, other individuals, including former Libera soloist Steven Geraghty, have also contributed new lyrics to recent albums.

Libera uses a variety of instrumentation. Robert Prizeman, Ian Tilley and Steven Geraghty play electronic keyboards, piano and organ. Steven Geraghty also played clarinet for Free, Visions and Angel Voices, and percussion for Visions and Angel Voices. All of their EMI albums feature Fiona Pears on the violin. Angel Voices: Libera in Concert has additional backing by Il Novecento Orchestra. The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra provides backing to their New Dawn album.


For most of their performances, the boys of Libera wear distinctive white hooded robes based on monastic cowls.[1] The boys can be seen wearing the robes on the cover of their first single, Sing Forever.[citation needed] Other Libera uniforms include white or black hoodies and black slacks with light blue shirts.[1] Some of their videos have featured the boys wearing regular, casual clothing.[citation needed]

Cover art

Libera "Angel Voices" album cover (2006)

Common motifs in the cover art of the choir's albums include birds, clouds, light as well as pictures of the choristers. The 1993 release of Angel Voices, Angel Voices 2, Angel Voices 3, Libera, Luminosa and Welcome to Libera's World all feature white birds on their covers. Sing Forever, the 1992 release of Angel Voices, Angel Voices: Libera in Concert and New Dawn show several of the boys dressed in white robes. Free and Visions both show a single, ghostly figure in white robes against a cloudy background. On album Free the ghostly figure featured is Callum Payne. The 2006 Angel Voices album shows several boys wearing what appear to be white hoodies.[5]




As Angel Voices:

As Libera:

Movie soundtracks

Supporting roles on albums and singles

As Angel Voices:

As Libera:

Concerts and appearances

Since becoming a registered charity in the UK, Libera has made numerous appearances on TV, radio, and in concert.

February 2007
May 2007
August 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
October 2009
April 2010
May 2010
August 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
March 2011
April 2011
July 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
April 2012
May 2012
July 2012
August 2012


  1. ^ a b c d e Daniel Ross (12 March 2010). "Libera Peace Review". BBC.
  2. ^ a b c d Bryan Harris (May 2006). "St. Philips, Norbury ... and the phenomenon that is Libera". The Bridge (Monthly Newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Soutwark). Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Libera". Songs of Praise. 25 January 2009. BBC One.
  4. ^[better source needed]
  5. ^ a b Ian Tilley | Record Producer and Musician | Discography[self-published source]
  6. ^[better source needed]
  7. ^ Libera Official Website | Music[self-published source]
  8. ^ a b[better source needed]
  9. ^ Libera Official Website | News[self-published source]
  10. ^ Libera Official Website | About Libera[self-published source]
  11. ^ "Soundtracks for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". Retrieved 25 December 2011.[better source needed]
  12. ^ Silence, Night & Dreams: Teresa Salgueiro, Tom Cully, Zbigniew Preisner, John Parricelli, Mitchell Dalton, Alasdair Malloy, Konrad Mastylo, Marek Mos, Aukso Orches...
  13. ^ ZBIGNIEW PREISNER: Silence, Night & Dreams – Teresa Salgueiro, voice/ Tom Cully, boy soprano/ Aukso Orchestra cond. by Marek Mos/Camerata Silesia dir. by Anna Szostak – EMI Cl...
  14. ^ Tom Cully - The Libera Database
  15. ^ Masterpiece | Foyle's War: Series V | PBS
  16. ^
  17. ^ Musical Monday: “You Were There” (Ico), composed by Michiru Oshima » Matchsticks for my Eyes
  18. ^ Steven Geraghty | videos, music, lyrics, pictures and photos | Planet Lyrics - Tons of lyrics, artists, videos, wallpapers
  19. ^ "Melody light comfort that invites the ultimate healing of hard Romantic. ... Released Soon!" (in Japanese). HMV. 2003-06-01. Retrieved 2008-11-19. ""大島ミチルが手掛けたゲーム・サントラICO霧の中の旋律ではLiberaリベラのヴォーカリストSteven Geraghtyスティーブン・ガラティがヴォーカルで参加" – "Oshima Michiru who managed the game soundtrack for ICO with vocals by Steven Geraghty of Libera""
  20. ^ The Snow Queen [RCA] - Various Artists : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic
  21. ^ The Snow Queen [RCA] CD - Sony Classics :
  22. ^ The Snow Queen Cast and Crew - Full List of The Snow Queen Credits
  23. ^ Warner Classics
  24. ^ BBC - When Will I Be Famous? - Contestants
  25. ^ Libera - Angel Voices Live In Concert [DVD]: Libera: Film & TV
  26. ^ Libera Sanctus Yankee Stadium!!! Concert of Hope!!! - YouTube
  27. ^ Aled Jones - Christmas Carols [DVD]: Aled Jones: Film & TV
  28. ^ BBC One - Songs of Praise, Libera
  29. ^ BBC One - Songs of Praise, J Arthur Rank
  30. ^ BBC One - Songs of Praise, 50th Birthday Celebration
  31. ^ Libera's World: QVC
  32. ^ Libera's World: St. George's Cathedral Concert Archive
  33. ^ BBC One - Songs of Praise, God Made Man
  34. ^ Libera's World: Live with Gabby - Carol of the Bells
  35. ^ BBC Radio 2 - The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, 22/12/2011
  36. ^ BBC One - Songs of Praise, Palm Sunday
  37. ^ Announcing our Spring Tour | Libera Official Website
  38. ^ Libera's World: Arundel 2012 Concert Archive
  39. ^ Libera on Japanese TV show | Dear Libera
  40. ^
  41. ^

External links