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9 TREBLES Featured Boy Sopranos | All Trebles | Boy Altos | Soloist Recordings | Chorister of the Year | 78 RPM | Pop Singles

  Denis Barthel   [Denis H. A. Barthel]    (b. 19 Mai 1916) Celebrating 101 Years This Month Boy Soprano Soloist 
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Denis Barthel Denis became a pupil at Burdett Coates' school, and commenced his career as a chorister at St. Stephen's Church, Westminster, under its organist and choirmaster Dr. William Bunney.

When Denis was eleven, he was taken by Dr. Bunney to the Temple Church, Fleet Street for an audition by Dr. George Thalben-Ball. 'The Doctor' was quick to act on Bunney's introduction and Denis became probationer chorister at Temple in November 1927, the same year in which Ernest Lough made his famous recording of O for the Wings of a Dove.

Denis became principal soloist and Head Boy in 1932, and recorded some of the most remarkable records ever to come out of Temple. He left the choir in July 1933.

Major Denis Barthel M.B.E. died in Vancouver B.C. on 13th September 2008, aged 92. He was the last surviving member of the Temple Church Choir which, with Ernest Lough as soloist, recorded the world-famous "Hear my Prayer" by Mendelssohn.
Related Sites
BCSD: Temple Church Choir
Church Times Obituary
Denis Barthel's death was fittingly marked by two obituaries.
The Better Land
Times Online Obituary
Denis Barthel died on September 13, 2008, aged 92.

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Featured Recordings Compact | Full
Denis Barthel - Parry: Jerusalem  /  Walford Davies: O little town of Bethlehem
Denis Barthel 1931
Parry: Jerusalem / Walford Davies: O little town of Bethlehem (HMV B.4285 (10-inch), 78 RPM) Dezember 1932
Featuring Denis Barthel  
A: Jerusalem (sacred song: wds William Blake (1757-1827), from Preface to "Milton" (lines 27-42; title-page 1804, but not printed until c. 1810; title "Jerusalem" is not Blake's) - music Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918), 1916) (matrix 0BR121-3) Available on Amphion CD "The Better Land" vol. 2.
B: O little town of Bethlehem (carol: wds Bishop Phillips Brooks (1835-93), written betw. Xmas 1865 & Xmas 1868 (when first sung) - music Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941), tune "Wengen" 1903) (0BR120-3) Available on Amphion CDs "The Better Land" vol. 1 & "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1.
Both items rec. 24 Feb. 1932 with G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ.
  Side A -   Jerusalem (Parry)  
  Side B -   O little town of Bethlehem (Walford Davies)  
no cover
Bridge: Easter Hymn / Handel: He was despised (Messiah) (HMV B.4107 (10-inch), 78 RPM) April 1932
Featuring Denis Barthel  
A: Easter Hymn (incipit: "Let joy and praise to Heaven rise". Engl. wds Hans Wagemann after early 17th cent. German hymn "Ein fröhlicher Gesang" - music arr. Frank Bridge (1879-1941), publ. 1912, fr. tune to "Laßt uns erfreuen herzlich sehr" in "Catholische Kirchengesänge" (ed. Peter von Brachel, Cologne, 1623)) (matrix 0BR119-1 #) Available on Amphion CD "The Better Land" vol. 2.
B: He was despised (wds Bible: Isaiah 53:3 selected by Charles Jennens - music George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), from oratorio "Messiah", 1742) (0BR118-3 #) Available on Amphion CDs "The Better Land" vol. 1 & "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1. Both rec. 24 Feb. 1932 # with G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ.
# The matrix nos. are given as series 0B and the recdg date as 24 Jan. 1932 in "A Numerical Listing of the HMV 'B' Series of 78 rpm Records" by F. Andrews & E. Bayly (2000), but the details given above are believed to be the correct ones. The 0B series had reached over 2000 by Jan. 1932 and it is likely that these two sides immediately preceded those on B.4285 and were made on the same day. Anyone who has the original 78 is invited to check the matrix nos. and advise.
  Side A -   Easter Hymn "Let joy and praise to Heaven rise" (arr. Bridge)   (Based on German tune of c.1623)
  Side B -   He was despised (Handel)   (From "Messiah")
Denis Barthel - Goss: See amid the winter's snow  /  Terry (arr.): I saw a fair mayden syttin and sing
Dennis Barthel, age 14
Goss: See amid the winter's snow / Terry (arr.): I saw a fair mayden syttin and sing (HMV B.3976 (10-inch), 78 RPM) April 1931
Featuring Denis Barthel  
A: (a) See amid the winter's snow (wds Edward Caswall (1814-78), publ. 1851 - music John Goss (1800-80), tune "Humility" 1871) (matrix 0BR66-3A) Accomp. piano, organ & choir; Barthel sings verse 1 as a solo, the refrains & verse 2 are choral. This short piece is followed by (b) Christmas Lullaby (incipit: "The [A] babe lies in the cradle", Engl. wds Paul England (1864-1932), publ. 1900 - music D.G. Corner ("Ein neues andächtiges Kindelwiegen", publ. 1649) arr. Thalben-Ball, prob. after Liddle's arr. publ. 1900), with choir & organ. Both pieces are included on Amphion CD "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1.
B: (a) I saw a fair mayden syttin and sing (15th cent. carol "Myn Lyking" arr. Richard Runciman Terry (1865-1938), 1912: text below) (0BR67-2A) Accomp. piano & choir. This piece is followed by (b) "There is no Rose of such Virtue" (Engl. carol c.1420 arr. Thalben-Ball), by unaccomp. choir. Both items are incl. on the CD "Glory" as above and the first item with Barthel as soloist is on Amphion CD "The Better Land" vol. 2.
Both matrices were cut on 25 Sept. 1931 with the Temple Church Choir directed by G.T. Thalben-Ball.
Text of "Myn Lyking" (1912 score): "(1) I saw a fair mayden syttin and sing. She lulled a lyttel childe, a sweete lording. (Refrain after each verse) Lullay myn lyking, my dere sonne, my sweeting. Lullay my dere herte, myn own dere derling. (2) That same Lord is he that made alle thing; Of alle lord is He is Lord of alle kynges Kyng. (3) There was mickle [much] melody at that chylde's birth. All that were in heav'nly bliss, they made mickle mirth. (4) Angels bright sang their song to that chyld; Blyssid be thou, and so be she, so meek and so mild."
  Side A -   See amid the winter's snow (Goss)  
  Side B -   I saw a fair mayden syttin and sing (arr. Terry)   (aka (Lullay) Myn Lyking)
Denis Barthel - Sterndale Bennett: Remember now thy Creator
Sterndale Bennett: Remember now thy Creator (HMV unissued on 78rpm, 78 RPM) 1930
Featuring Denis Barthel   Harold Langston  
Remember now thy Creator (anthem, 1859: wds Bible: Eccl. 12:1,13 - music William Sterndale Bennett (1816-75)) Test pressing BR2821-2, rec. 3 July 1930, with Harold Langston (alto), Denis Barthel (soprano), Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ.
Issued on CDs Amphion "The Better Land" vol. 2 & "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1.

Careful listening with the score shows that Langston's is the first voice heard, taking the solo alto line, but his voice and Barthel's are so closely matched in tone on this recording that it is difficult to tell them apart.

The illustration shows the Temple Church organ & choir stalls (destroyed in 1941).
  Side A -   Remember now thy Creator (Sterndale Bennett)  
Other Recordings Compact | Full
Denis Barthel - The Glory of the Temple Church Choir, Volume Two
The Glory of the Temple Church Choir, Volume Two (Amphion PHI CD 181, CD) August 2002
Featuring Temple Church Choir   Denis Barthel   Master Douglas Horton   Ernest Lough   Ronald Mallett  
Recorded 1927 - 1950

Tracks 1-12: Temple Church Choir, Recorded 1927-1932
Tracks 13-19: The Templars' Male Voice Choir, Recorded 1948
Tracks 20-26: The Templars, Recorded 1950
  1.   Insanae et vanae curae (Haydn)   Rec. 1930
  2.   How Lovely is thy dwelling place (Brahms)   Rec 1928
  3.   Mine eyes have seen the glory (Davies)   Rec 1927
  4.   Hear Ye, Israel (Mendelssohn)   Rec 1927, Soloist: Ernest Lough
  5.   O Worship the King Rec 1929  
  6.   Turn back O man (Holst)   Rec 1930
  7.   For all the saints (Vaughan Williams)   Rec 1930
  8.   St Patricks Prayer (Burke)   Rec 1930
  9.   Jerusalem (Parry)   Rec 1932, Soloist: Dennis Barthel
10.   Hallelujah from Christ at the Mount of Olives (Beethoven)   Rec 1930
11.   Lead me , O Lord (Wesley)   Rec 1927, Soloists: Ronald Mallett and Douglas Horton
12.   Blessed be the God and the Father (Wesley)   Rec 1928, Soloists: Ernest Lough and Douglas Horton
13.   God rest ye merry, Gentlemen (trad)  
14.   A babe lies in the cradle (Corner)  
15.   Christ was born on Christmas Day (trad)  
16.   While shepherds watched their flocks  
17.   Childing of a maiden (trad)  
18.   We three kings of Orient are  
19.   Christmas is Coming/Wassail Carol  
20.   Away in a Manger  
21.   The First Nowell  
22.   See amid the winter's snow  
23.   Unto us a boy is born  
24.   Angels from the realms of Glory  
25.   O little town of Bethlehem  
26.   The Twelve Days of Christmas   Tenor: Harry Abbott, Bass: Ernest Lough
Email   Purchase from the Producer, Stephen Beet You can order the Better Land and Temple Church CDs directly from the producer Stephen Beet for £11.00 plus postage and packing. Please apply for postal rates and discounts on the set of both series. StephenRBeet@gmail.com Paypal address beetstphn@aol.com
Denis Barthel - The Glory of the Temple Church Choir
The Glory of the Temple Church Choir (Amphion PHI CD 172, CD) Januar 2002
Featuring Temple Church Choir   Denis Barthel   Harold Langston   Ernest Lough   Ronald Mallett   Thomas Meddings  
"Doctor" George Thalben-Ball's famous choir, recorded 1922 - 1935.
The success of "The Better Land" series, featuring boy sopranos of the 20th century has awakened interest in that great choir to which several of the boys belonged, and in the man who trained them. Several of the "boys" have been closely involved with the preparation of this CD.
  1.   King of Glory  
  2.   I Waited for the Lord   Soloists: Ernest Lough and Ronald Mallett
  3.   O come everyone that thirsteth   Soloists: Lough and Mallett
  4.   How Lovely are the Messengers  
  5.   Lullay my Liking & There is no rose   Soloist: Dennis Barthel
  6.   See amid the winter's snow   Soloist: Barthel with tenor
  7.   O Little Town of Bethlehem   Soloist: Barthel
  8.   As pants the hart   Soloist: Thomas Meddings
  9.   Lord it belongs not to my care  
10.   Jesu joy of man's desiring  
11.   Blest are the departed   Soloist: Meddings
12.   He was despised   Soloist: Barthel
13.   Remember now thy creator   Soloists: Harold Langston and Barthel
14.   Oh for a closer walk with God   Soloist: Thomas Meddings (misattributed on CD as Langston)
15.   If ye love me, keep my commandments  
16.   O filii et filiae   Soloists: Lough and Horton
17.   Lord God of Heaven & Earth   Soloists: Meddings (soprano) and Dennys Lake (alto)
18.   Angels ever bright and fair   Soloist: Langston
19.   Psalm 150  
20.   Hear my Prayer   Soloist: Lough
21.   The Heavens are telling  
Email   Purchase from the Producer, Stephen Beet You can order the Better Land and Temple Church CDs directly from the producer Stephen Beet for £11.00 plus postage and packing. Please apply for postal rates and discounts on the set of both series. StephenRBeet@gmail.com Paypal address beetstphn@aol.com
Denis Barthel - The Better Land Volume 2: Great Boy Sopranos 1930 - 1950
The Better Land Volume 2: Great Boy Sopranos 1930 - 1950 (Amphion PHI CD 159, CD) 2000
Featuring Derek Barsham   The Better Land Series   Billy Neely   Denis Barthel   Harold Langston   Thomas Meddings   Graham Payn   Temple Church Choir   Denis Wright  
This volume is now deleted but replaced by the double CD volume The Better Land Volumes 1 & 2. See above.
  1.   Jerusalem (Parry-Blake) (L)   Master Denis Barthel
  2.   Silent Worship (Handel-Somervell) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  3.   Passing By (E. Purcell-Herrick) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  4.   Ninepenny Fiddle (Trad- arr. Moore) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
  5.   Lark in the Clear Air (Trad) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
  6.   Cradle Song (Schubert-Claudius)   Master Denis Wright
  7.   I'll Walk Beside You (Murray-Lockton) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  8.   Beyond the Dawn (Sanderson-Weatherly)   Master Derek Barsham
  9.   The Birds (Britten-Belloc) (L)   Master Billy Neely
10.   Child & the Twilight (arr Moore)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
11.   Remember now thy Creator (Sterndale-Bennett)   Masters Harold Langston & Denis Barthel, with the choir of the Temple Church, London.
Recorded July 1930. Acc. Dr. George Thalben Ball. Unpublished recording 3rd. July 1930.
12.   Lullay Myn Lyking (Trad 15th Cent-Terry) (L)   Master Denis Barthel
13.   Uncle Mac's Favourite Hymns: All Things Bright & Beautiful, There's a Friend for Little Chil   Master Denis Wright with the Greenbank Children's Choir
14.   Hymn that I Sang as a Boy (Miller-Burnaby)   Master Graham Payn
15.   Meadowsweet (April)   Master Graham Payn (1933)
16.   Anchor Song (Smith)   Master Derek Barsham
17.   A Fairy Story by the Fire (Merikanto)   Master Billy Neely
18.   Vergin Tutt 'Amor (Francesco Durante) (L)   Master Billy Neely
19.   Star of Bethlehem (Adams-Weatherly)   Master Derek Barsham
20.   As Pants the Hart (Spohr) (L)   Master Thomas Meddings with the choir of the Temple Church
21.   Il Mio Bel Foco (Benedetto Marcello-Baker)   Master Billy Neely
22.   "The Libertine: Nymphs & Shepherds"   Master Derek Barsham.
Transcription disc of B.B.C. Children's Hour broadcast, with Nancy Phillips, violin. First issue on "Better Land" vol. 2.
23.   Cherry Ripe (Hurn-Herrick) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1949)
24.   Halleluja (Easter Hymn dating from 1623)   Master Denis Barthel
25.   Star of God (Coates-Murray) (L)   Master Derek Barsham.
Recorded 3 or 4 May 1946 with piano accomp. Live direct-disc recording at the Royal Albert Hall during the Boys' Brigade Annual Display, Physical Phantasmagoria. First issue on "Better Land" vol. 2.
Review at   The Better Land
Email   Purchase from Stephen Beet
Denis Barthel - The Better Land - Great Boy Sopranos Recorded 1914-1944
The Better Land - Great Boy Sopranos Recorded 1914-1944 (Amphion PHI CD 158, CD) 1999
Featuring The Better Land Series   Denis Barthel   John Bonner   Master Gordon Carter   Master (Arthur) Iwan Davies   Master Leslie Day   Frederick (John) Firth   Robert Harris   Aled Jones   Derrick Jones   Walter Lawrence   Trevor Schofield   Morris Stevens   Thomas Tweedy   Denis Wright  
The celebrated series of CD albums featuring the boy sopranos of the past. This volume is now deleted but replaced by the double CD volume The Better Land Volumes 1 & 2. See above.
  1.   The Better Land (Hemans-Cowen) (L)   Denis Wright
  2.   I Hear You Calling Me (Harford-Marshall) (L)   Leslie Day
  3.   He was Despised (Handel) (L)   Denis Barthel
  4.   Who is Sylvia? (Schubert ­ arr. Geehl)   Robert Harris
  5.   O Lord Whose Mercies Numberless (Handel) (L)   Frederick Firth
  6.   Somewhere a Voice is Calling(Newton & Tate)   John Bonner
  7.   God Shall Wipe Away all Tears(Sullivan) (L)   Morris Stevens
  8.   O For the Wings of a Dove (Mendelssohn) (L)   Gordon Carter
  9.   Serenade (Schubert)   Frederick Firth
10.   Smilin' Through (Arthur A. Penn) (L)   Derrick Jones
11.   Spring Morning (Carey)   Walter Lawrence
12.   If there were dreams to sell (Ireland) (L)   Frederick Firth
13.   Christopher Robin is saying his prayers (Milne- Fraser-Simson) (L)   Denis Wright
14.   By an Old Abbey Door (Towers, Leon, Nicholls)   Thomas Tweedy
15.   Goodnight Said the Cuckoo (P.B. Harding)   Trevor Schofield
16.   O Little Town of Bethlehem (H. Walford Davies) (L)   Denis Barthel
17.   The Last Rose of Summer (Thomas Moore) (L)   Denis Wright
18.   My Heart Ever Faithful (Bach) (L)   Frederick Firth
19.   Nymphs & Shepherds (Purcell)   John Bonner
20.   Market Square (Fraser-Simpson) (L)   Denis Wright
21.   The Holy City (Adams Weatherley) (L)   Iwan Davies
22.   For you alone (P.J.O'Reilly-Henry Geehl) (L)   Leslie Day
Email   Purchase from Stephen Beet Individual CD's £10 each plus postage. The Better Land set of 6 CD's is available from StephenRBeet@gmail.com Price £55 plus postage. Included in this offer is a FREE copy of "The Better Land - In search of the Lost Boy Sopranos" (retail value £10) Paypal address: beetstphn@aol.com
Books Compact | Full
Denis Barthel - Better Land, The: In Search of the Lost Boy Sopranos
Better Land, The: In Search of the Lost Boy Sopranos (Rectory Press , Book) April 2005
Featuring The Better Land Series   Temple Church Choir   Clifford Adams   Derek Barsham   Denis Barthel   John Bonner   Richard Bonsall   Alan Bradbrook   Master John Brookman   Richard Brown   Master Gordon Carter   Master (Arthur) Iwan Davies   Master Leslie Day   Robin Fairhurst   Frederick (John) Firth   Michael Ginn   John Gwilym Griffith(s)   Robert Harris   Michael Hartnett   Aled Jones   Beverley Jones   Raymond Kinsey   Harold Langston   Ernest Lough   Robin Lough   Thomas Meddings   Brian Moody   Billy Neely   Graham Payn   Robert Duncan Peel   Kenneth Purves   The Choir of the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy   Steffani and his Silver Songsters   Thomas Tweedy   Denis Wright  
By Stephen Beet. Features much newly-discovered material, telling the often very human stories of the boys behind the voices, at the height of their singing careers and in their later lives. Copiously illustrated with many previously-unpublished photographs and manuscript samples, with a Foreword by Peter Purves.

As well as chapters on Iwan Davies, Derek Barsham, and Denis Wright, amongst others there are also chapters under the following headings: The Temple Boys, The Manchester Boys, The Music Hall Boys, The Fleeting Boys, and The Broadcast Boys.

This book is available directly from the author: Contact StephenRBeet@gmail.com Price Seven Pounds Sterling plus postage

This book is available for the cost of postage and packing only if the set of six The Better Land CD albums is ordered.
Email   Stephen Beet The book costs £10 plus postage. Cheque or PayPal.
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