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  Richard Bonsall    (b. 1955) Boy Soprano Soloist 
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Richard Bonsall Richard Bonsall, New Zealand's boy soprano, began his training as a soloist with the New Zealand Boys Choir and continued with the Belmont Singers of Auckland. Richard won the Junior Vocal Championships at the Auckland Competitions three times and in 1969 also won the Children's Vocal Championships at the North Shore Competitions. In 1970 he won the North Shore Mardi Gras Junior Talent Quest. Radio broadcasts and two appearances on television's "On Camera" added to Richard's experience, culminating in his success on Chris Bourn's national television programme, "Studio One: 1970."

For his years, Richard has also had considerable stage experience, having taken the lead roled in a number of productions: Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Emporer and his Nightengale, The Bride of Seville (adapted from Rossini's Barber), Pinocchio and the Children's Crusade. Richard's interest in music is very wide in scope and will be perpetuated beyond his soprano years in his playing of piano, oboe and clarinet.

Richard gained a BA in Japanese Language and Music while at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In 1977 he was awarded a diploma in Japanese Language and Literature by the Osaka University of Foreign Studies and in 1979 an MA in Japanese Language and Ethnomusicology by the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts.

Since that time, Richard has had a wealth of experience in senior business management and now lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
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Tadpole Music
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Featured Recordings Compact | Full
Richard Bonsall - Encore
Encore (Tadpole Music TAD 0303, CD) October 2003
Featuring Richard Bonsall  
Sacred and secular songs performed by what some have called the finest treble voice ever recorded. A selection of tracks from two of Richard Bonsall's previous three LPs.
Richard has a very mature, rich, warm voice even throughout its range, with easy production, secure intonation, a ringing top, well-controlled medium vibrato, exemplary diction, phrasing & expression. "Whistling Gipsy Rover" is given a stunning performance. (BJP)
Total time 67 min.
  1.   Ave Maria (Bach / Gounod) (L)   3.13.
  2.   On Wings of Song (Mendelssohn) (L)   3.10
  3.   The Lorelei (Traditionnal) (L)   3.02
  4.   Christmas Cradle Song (Sanger) (L)   2.38
  5.   The Last Rose of Summer (Traditionnal) (L)   3.13
  6.   The Lord's Prayer (Malotte) (L)   3.07
  7.   Greensleeves (Traditionnal) (L)   2.51
  8.   Ave Maria (Schubert) (L)   3.13
  9.   Skye Boat Song (Boulton) (L)   2.51
10.   Rose of Tralee (Traditionnal) (L)   2.58
11.   An Island Sheiling Song (Traditionnal) (L)   3.13
12.   An Eriskay Love Lilt (Traditionnal) (L)   3.13
13.   Whistling Gipsy Rover (Maguire) (L)   3.25
14.   Mhairi's Wedding (arr. H. S. Robertson) (L)   1.22
15.   La Golondrina (Serradell - Danes) (L)   3.58
16.   Edelweiss (Rodgers - Hammerstein) (L)   1.34
17.   Bonnie Mary o'Argyle (Traditionnal) (L)   3.24
18.   Voi Che Sapete (Mozart) (L)   2.46
19.   Lullaby (Brahms) (L)   2.58
20.   Shepherd's Song (Elgar) (L)   3.26
21.   Tell Me, Lovely Shepherd (Boyce) (L)   2.33
22.   Whither (Schubert) (L)  
Available at   Tadpole Music
Richard Bonsall - O For The Wings Of A Dove
Cover
O For The Wings Of A Dove (Emerald  GES 1112, LP) 1974
Featuring Richard Bonsall  
Richard Bonsall with the Choir of St Mary's Cathedral Aucklan
  1.   Panis Angelicus  
  2.   Wert Thou But Near  
  3.   How Beautiful Are The Feet  
  4.   Alleluia  
  5.   The Virgin's Slumber Song  
  6.   Crimond  
  7.   Hear My Prayer  
  8.   O For The Wings Of A Dove  
Richard Bonsall - Recital!
Recital! (Viking VP 348, LP) 1971
Featuring Richard Bonsall  
Also on: EMI Axis 6092. All tracks except 6 and 10 available on "Encore!" CD.
  1.   The Whistling Gypsy Rover  
  2.   Mairi's Wedding (or The Lewis Bridal Song)  
  3.   La Golondrina  
  4.   Edelweiss [Sound of Music] (Rodgers and Hammerstein)  
  5.   Bonnie Mary  
  6.   O Come All Ye Faithful  
  7.   Voi Che Sapete [Marriage of Figaro] (Mozart)  
  8.   Lullaby (Brahms)  
  9.   Shepherd's Song (Elgar)  
10.   Allelujah (Mozart)  
11.   Tell me Lovely Shepherd (Boyce)  
12.   Whither (Wohin) (Schubert)  
Richard Bonsall - O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song
O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song ( SMLP 100, LP) 1970
Featuring Richard Bonsall  
The Choir of Saint Mary's Cathedral Auckland with RICHARD BONSALL (Boy Soprano) and Kenneth Weir (Organ), directed by Peter Godfrey, recorded in 1970. Richard sings on tracks 3,5,6,7.
  1.   Psalm 98  
  2.   Litanies (Alain)   organ
  3.   Magnificat (Stanford)  
  4.   Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost (Forbes)  
  5.   Come Holy Ghost (Attwood)  
  6.   Lully, Lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child (Leighton)  
  7.   Ye now Who Sorrow (Brahms)  
  8.   Variations on a Theme of Clement Jannequin (Alain)   organ
  9.   Psalm 107  
Richard Bonsall - Richard Bonsall Sings
Richard Bonsall Sings (Viking VP 328, LP) 1970
Featuring Richard Bonsall  
All tracks except 6 and 9 are available on CD reissue.
  1.   Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod)  
  2.   On Wings of Song  
  3.   The Loelei  
  4.   Christmas Cradle Song  
  5.   The Last Rose of Summer  
  6.   Gesu Bambino  
  7.   The Lord's Prayer (Malotte)  
  8.   Greensleeves  
  9.   Santa Lucia  
10.   Ave Maria (Schubert)  
11.   Skye Boat Song  
12.   Rose of Tralee  
13.   An Island Sheiling Song  
14.   An Eriskay Love Lilt  
Singles Compact | Full
Richard Bonsall - Richard Bonsall Sings
Richard Bonsall Sings (HMV GESM 6142, 45rpm Single)
Featuring Richard Bonsall  
7" EP.
Other Recordings Compact | Full
Richard Bonsall - The Better Land Volume 6
The Better Land Volume 6 (Amphion PHI CD 220, CD) May 2007
Featuring The Better Land Series   Frank Bird   Richard Bonsall   Master Vernon Carter   Desmond Casey   Thomas Criddle   John Evans-Pughe   Robin Fairhurst   John Gwilym Griffith(s)   Raymond Kinsey   Walter Lawrence   Michael Lumb   Billy Neely   Christopher Robins   Mansel Squire   The Choir of St. Nicholas' College, Chislehurst   Robert 'Bobby' Waddell  
The Better Land Volume 6, with Master Thomas Criddle's photo on the cover, features some previously unissued recordings and broadcasts from the days when 'bel canto' and 'Old Cathedral Tone' was taught to our finest soloists. In addition to a previously 'lost' recording of Billy Neely, this includes broadcast recordings of Master Robin Fairhurst (Temple Church) and an unpublished recording of Vernon Carter.

The choristers of St Nicholas' College Chislehurst feature by popular request in their famous 'Brother James' Air and O Lovely Peace. Master Thomas Criddle's amazing voice has excited much comment by reviewers and singing teachers.
----------------
This disc is quite remarkable for the wide range of vocal qualities and styles displayed, spanning a period of nearly 60 years. The two tracks by John Gwilym Griffith (new to CD) are alone worth the price of the disc, being sung with exquisite tone, style and feeling. Walter Lawrence, the New York choirboy, shows us in a track from 100 years ago, an amazingly easy vocal mastery of coloratura in "Rejoice Greatly" (Messiah), despite the slightly hurried tempi necessary to fit the (abridged) aria onto a 4-minute disc. The French song on his other track is another example of excellent technique and breath control. Thomas Criddle again shows a very attractive, pure, clear voice and good style in his May 1943 items. Frank Bird (also newly on CD), sounding younger than his 15¼ years, is a fine example of the English parish choirboy between the wars. Other tracks are perhaps not quite as pleasurable, but rewarding in their own way as historically illustrative. Michael Lumb and John Evans-Pugh sing in an over-refined or "precious" manner now outdated and probably not to most tastes. Robin Fairhurst lacks the necessary "steel" in his voice and has less than ideal breath control, while Raymond Kinsey (so prized in volumes 4 & 5) here sounds tired in a laboured account of Gounod's "Ave Maria". Mansel Squire's rendering of "I know that my Redeemer liveth" (Messiah) is rather curious: worryingly hesitant and inexpressive, without the progress from conviction in the opening lines, through triumph to awe and wonder at Divine grace, which the very best singers bring to the piece. He is not helped by an uninspiring organ accompaniment. One can only assume that limited studio time precluded a re-take. In summary, with a total playing time of 76 minutes this is a valuable document for those interested in the singing styles of boy soloists (both choristers and entertainers) since the earliest days of recording and the disc bears repeated careful listening. BJP
  1.   That Old-Fashioned Mother of Mine (David / Nicholls)   Master Thomas Criddle
  2.   I give thanks for you (Linton / Young)   Master Thomas Criddle
  3.   Rejoice Greatly (Handel -- The Messiah)   Master Walter Lawrence
  4.   Come unto Him (Handel -- The Messiah)   Master Robert Waddell
  5.   How beautiful are the feet (Handel -- The Messiah)   Master John Gwilym Griffith
  6.   I know that my Redeemer liveth (Handel -- The Messiah)   Master Mansel Squire
  7.   Danny Boy (F.E. Weatherly / Old Irish tune Londonderry Air)   Master Desmond Casey
  8.   Drink to me only with thine eyes (Ben Jonson / traditional English air)   Master John Gwilym Griffith
  9.   Brother James' Air (Psalm 23 / Marosa by J.L.M. Bain, arr. G. Jacobs)   Masters Michael Lumb & John Evans-Pughe
10.   O lovely peace (Handel -- Judas Maccabeus)   Masters John Evans-Pughe & Michael Lumb and the Choristers of St. Nicholas' College, Chiselhurst, Kent.
11.   Song of Songs (Lucas / Moya)   Master Frank Bird
12.   Villanelle (The Lark's Song, sung in French) (F. van der Elst / Eva Dell'Acqua)   Master Walter Lawrence
13.   A Tragic Story (Thackeray / Britten)   Master Billy Neely. Recording issued for the first time.
14.   Sheep may safely graze (Bach BWV208)   Master Robin Fairhurst
15.   Where e'er you walk (Handel -- Semele)   Master Robin Fairhurst
16.   The Tailor and the Mouse (traditional)   Master Robin Fairhurst. Recording issued for the first time.
17.   Ave Maria (sung in English) (Gounod)   Master Raymond Kinsey
18.   Turn Thy Face from my Sins (Attwood)   Master Vernon Carter. Recording issued for the first time.
19.   Tell Me, Lovely Shepherd (E. Moore / W. Boyce -- Solomon)   Master Christopher Robins. Recording issued for the first time.
20.   Santa Lucia   Master Richard Bonsall
21.   Daddy (Mark-Lemon / Behrend)   Master Thomas Criddle
22.   I shall be there (Bowler / Haydn Wood)   Master Thomas Criddle
Email   Stephen Beet Order directly from Stephen Beet to avail of the special price: Each CD is £10 plus postage.
The Better Land set of six CDs is £55 plus postage. (This includes a copy of Mr. Beet's book "The Better Land - In search of the lost boy sopranos." Please contact Mr. Beet StephenRBeet@gmail.com. PayPal address: beetstphn@aol.com Prices quoted in Euro and other currency on request.
Books Compact | Full
Richard Bonsall - 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 £10 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.
This page last modified on Saturday, June 04, 2011
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