Harold Langston


langst~1-sm.jpg (6109 bytes)Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of Harold Langston. David Lewer has kept meticulous records of ex-Temple choristers, but all trace of Langston has been lost. Rumour had it that after going into farming, he emigrated to Canada.

Harold Langston was discoverd by Dr. Ball in Northumberland, and he was persuaded to join the choir, having found lodgings with two of the other choir boys, Billy and Noel Arnold. He remained in the choir until 1932. All attempts to trace his whereabouts have failed.

'He and Tim Leibe were particular friends of mine. He was a good man, was Harold, and I hope he is still alive somewhere in this world.' Major Denis Barthel

It was on 3rd July 1930 that Denis Barthel whose story we featured in the booklet accompanying Volume 1 of The Better Land made his first record at the age of fourteen. (Remember now thy Creator -Sterndale-Bennett) . Singing with him was Harold Langston. For some reason the disc was never published. It was thought that the only disc available was too damaged to use, but recently another was made available to us enabling the publication of this fine recording for the first time. 'I had completely forgotten making it', Denis Barthel told me.

Eighteen months after making his first record, Denis, who became Head Boy and Principal Soloist in 1931, recorded his most enduring disc, Jerusalem with Dr. Ball at the organ. Following the huge demand for more of Denis's records, we are very pleased to feature him prominently on this CD. In my opinion, his is one of the finest voices ever to come out of Temple.

Additional notes from "The Better Land - Volume IV"

He comes from Whitley Bay, Northumberland. It will probably not be long before we hear his voice on record. ...The Sound Wave, January, 1929

On volume two of The Better Land , seventy years after it was committed to wax, we featured the voice of Harold Langston, the Temple Church chorister of which all trace had been lost.  Then, quite by chance, Harold's son, Raymond and his wife walked into the Temple Church when the archivist, David Lewer happened to be working.  Raymond was visiting London from Toronto and was curious about his father's early life.  I visited Harold, now in a rest home in Toronto, and Raymond told me the remarkable story.

Harold Langston was born in 1916.   After winning a major music festival in Northumberland at the age of eleven, he was discovered by the then Mr. George Thalben-Ball who was searching for experienced boys to join the Temple Church Choir, following the departure of the four senior boys, Ernest Lough, Douglas Horton, Jack Salisbury and Ron Mallett after many years' service.  Mr. Ball persuaded Mrs. Langston to send Harold to Temple early in 1929, where he lodged with Billy and Noel Arnold, fellow choristers.  The principal soloists at this time were Tim Leibe, head boy, and Denis Barthel, second boy.

Denis Barthel made his first record,  Remember now thy creator  in 1930 as a duet with Harold, but it was never published until it was featured on volume two of  The Better Land .  Although  Denis had many published discs, Harold's were never released.  Four masters were recorded and we are pleased to feature one of his finest,  I will sing of thy great mercies  by Mendelssohn, which was recorded on 31st December, 1929.  We hope to feature the others on  Amphion's  forthcoming CD celebrating the music of The Temple Church.

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