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VSL Vienna Boys Choir & Basso Profondo Choir

VSL Synchron Player Instrument By Dave Stewart
Published July 2024

VSL Vienna Boys Choir & Basso Profondo Choir

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5/5 Stars

VSL’s latest library takes advantage of a historic local asset – the world‑famous Vienna Boys Choir, founded by decree of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I 526 years ago (almost as long as I’ve been writing for SOS). The hook‑up occurred after the boys recorded choral parts for the score of the fantasy series The Rings Of Power at the Vienna Synchron Stage. VSL’s Paul Kopf recounts, “We were simply stunned by the focus and the contagious enthusiasm the boys brought to each production day and it was very clear that we wanted to capture the essence of this exceptional constellation as deeply as possible.”

The samples were performed by 20 boys of different ages singing in unison over a G3 to G5 pitch range. Long notes are delivered on the vowels ‘ah’, ‘ooh’ and the hummed ‘mm’, the latter a great, vibrant timbre for pad layering.

Short staccato and marcato notes also offer ‘ah’ and ‘ooh’ variants with the consonants ‘K’, ‘L’, ‘M’, ‘P’, ‘R’, ‘S’ and ‘T’, which offer some rhythmic potential.

I loved using their alto register for chordal work, and the legatos sound great on soaring descant melodies. In a word, beautiful.

While any children’s choir has the ability to touch the heart, these boys’ voices are exceptional, displaying a wonderful purity of tone and precise, unwavering intonation. I loved using their alto register for chordal work, and the legatos (which include a portamento slide option) sound great on soaring descant melodies. In a word, beautiful.

I was so impressed by these angelic voices that I actually applied to join the Vienna Boys Choir, but was rejected on the grounds that a) I was born in London, b) I’m not a boy and c) I can’t sing. Blatant discrimination! Joking apart, it’s sad to reflect that these kids’ sweet voices will one day break, causing their time in the VBC to come to an end. However, one consolation is that when fully grown they may be able to join the adult choir VSL sampled for their Basso Profondo library, a kind of big brother to the boys’ choir.

Basso Profondo Choir consists of six sturdy men with ultra‑deep voices, an A#1‑A#3 pitch range and dynamics ranging from a comforting low‑pitched hum to a stentorian roar. Assembled by VSL for the Rings Of Power score recording, the singers duplicate the boys’ articulations and add some great performances of their own: espressivo, sforzato and marcato long notes, crescendos and diminuendos, scary three‑note clusters, shouts, rises and falls and a bunch of creepy effects which occasionally descend into madness.

This contrasting pair of choral libraries are identically priced and available in Full and Standard versions, the latter containing fewer mic positions and retailing at a suitably lower price.

Over the centuries, illustrious composers such as Mozart, Bruckner and Schubert have written for the choir — now it’s your turn!

Standard Library €165, Full Library €255.

Standard Library €165, Full Library €255.