20th Century British Songs

REBECCA CLARKE (1886-1979): The Seal Man, The Cloths of Heaven, The Cherry-Blossom Wand, Infant Joy, Cradle Song, Tiger, Tiger, HOWARD FERGUSON (1908-1999): Discovery, ELIZABETH MACONCHY (1907-1994): A Hymn to God the Father*, Have You Seen but a Bright Lily Grow?, A Meditation for his Mistress, 4 Shakespeare Songs, PHYLLIS TATE (1911-1987): The Falcon*, Cradle Song*, Epitaph, GERALD FINZI (1901-1956): Till Earth Outwears. - First Recordings.

Catalogue Number: 04W067

Label: SOMM

Reference: SOMMCD 0630

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Setting seven poems by Thomas Hardy, Finzi’s Till Earth Outwears provides an intimate and movingly melancholic commentary in what Ronald Woodley describes in his extensive and informative booklet notes as a “male perspective on life, love and loss”. Rarely recorded, Ferguson’s five-part treatment of Denton Welch’s poems, Discovery, typifies “the subtlety of the relationship between late romanticism, modernism and the inherited idioms of ‘Britishness’ that composers of Ferguson’s generation inevitably grew up with”. Three songs make their first appearance on disc. Maconchy’s setting of John Donne’s passionate but tortured A Hymn to God the Father boasts a searching vocal line underpinned by tellingly interrogative piano. Tate’s The Falcon is a sparse but powerful setting of an anonymous medieval text while her variegated treatment of William Blake’s poem Cradle Song is reminiscent of a Bartók folksong arrangement. Also heard are Maconchy’s Four Shakespeare Songs and settings of Ben Jonson’s Have You Seen but a Bright Lily Grow? and Robert Herrick’s A Meditation for his Mistress, alongside six varied and vital songs by Rebecca Clarke, including The Seal Man, “one of her most soaring flights of imagination”, and Tate’s Epitaph, in which her “quietly understated writing is masterly”. Texts included. James Geer (tenor), Ronald Woodley (piano).


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