SOMM Recordings announces the third and final volume of the enthusiastically received One Hundred Years of British Song, with tenor James Gilchrist and pianist Nathan Williamson.
Focusing on songs written since 1950, Volume 3 celebrates what Williamson’s booklet note describes as “astonishment at the depth of expressivity of the poetry and music”.
Receiving first recordings are John Woolrich’s settings of Irish poet Matthew Sweeney, The Unlit Suburbs, a deadpan yet evocative exercise in “alternative realism”, and Geoffrey Poole’s stylistically wide-ranging The Eye of the Blackbird, with texts from Virginia Woolf, traditional Nigerian poems, Wallace Stevens, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and Requiem Mass.
Also on disc for the first time are Williamson’s own song-cycle setting poems by Bryan Heiser composed especially for James Gilchrist, The Little That Was Once a Man, and solo-piano miniature, Intermezzo. Peter Dickinson’s early, accomplished Four W.H. Auden Songs and dramatic and intense yet positive and joyful Let the Florid Music Praise, and Madeleine Dring’s characterful Five Betjeman Songs, the product of a “fascinating and multi-faceted artistic personality”, complete the disc.
Gramophone hailed Volume 1 (SOMMCD 0621) as “a most impressive release” and Limelight, awarding its Recording of the Month accolade, as “a penetrating, frequently revelatory start to a promising new series”. Of Volume 2 (SOMMCD 0636), MusicWeb International said: “It is redundant to declare that this is a superlative CD. Considering the two performers, the technical prowess of SOMM Recordings, the excellent liner notes and the imaginative and wide-ranging programme, it could be nothing else”.
Gilchrist’s SOMM releases include Parry’s English Lyrics (SOMMCD 257 and 270) and Penelope Thwaites’ From Five Continents (SOMMCD 0612), to which, theclassicalreview said, “Gilchrist brings authority throughout”.
Williamson’s SOMM association includes Great American Sonatas (SOMMCD 0163), “a release of distinction” (Gramophone), and Colour and Light (SOMMCD 0196), a 2019 Recording of the Year for International Piano.
On This Recording
- Let the florid music praise
- Four W.H. Auden Songs - I. Look, Stsranger
- Four W.H. Auden Songs - II. Eyes look into the well
- Four W.H. Auden Songs - III. Carry her over the water
- Four W.H. Auden Songs - IV. What's in your mind?
- Five Betjeman Songs - A Bay in Anglesey
- Five Betjeman Songs - Song of a Nightclub Proprietress
- Five Betjeman Songs - Business Girls
- Five Betjeman Songs - Undenominational
- Five Betjeman Songs - Upper Lambourne
- The Little That Was Once A Man - In someone else's poem
- The Little That Was Once A Man - 4 a.m.
- The Little That Was Once A Man - Not being… (I) The ordinary way
- The Little That Was Once A Man - Not being… (II) Misunderstanding
- The Little That Was Once A Man - Moon at rest
- The Unlit Suburbs - I. The Submerged Bar
- The Unlit Suburbs - II. Rat Town
- The Unlit Suburbs - III. The Ghost Choir
- The Eye of the Blackbird - I. Twenty snowy mountains
- The Eye of the Blackbird - II. The Autumn wind
- The Eye of the Blackbird - III. I Was of three minds
- The Eye of the Blackbird - IV. Which to prefer
- The Eye of the Blackbird - V. Icicles
- The Eye of the Blackbird - VI. I know noble accents
- The Eye of the Blackbird - VII. Out of Sight
- The Eye of the Blackbird - VIII. He rode over Connecticut
- The Eye of the Blackbird - IX. Evening all afternoon
Peter Dickinson (b.1905)
Madeleine Dring (1923-77)
Nathan Williamson (b.1978) *
John Woolrich (b.1954) *
Nathan Williamson (b.1978) *
Geoffrey Poole (b.1949)