Susan Bickley


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Janacek: Orchestral Works Vol. 3

Janacek: Orchestral Works Vol. 3


Glagolitic Mass

Sara Jakubiak (soprano), Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Gábor Bretz (bass) & Thomas Trotter (organ)

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Choir & Choir of Collegiûm Mûsicûm

Adagio for Orchestra

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Zdravas Maria

Sara Jakubiak (soprano), David Stewart (violin), Karstein Askeland (organ)

Edvard Grieg Kor & Bergen Cathedral Choir

Otcenáš (Our Father) for four-part choir, tenor soloist, organ and harp

Stuart Skelton (tenor), Johannes Wik (harp), Karstein Askeland (organ)

Edvard Grieg Kor & Bergen Cathedral Choir

Not only does this collection of orchestral works by Janáček follow two highly praised volumes with such great soloists as Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and James Ehnes, but it also features one of the composer’s most monumental works – with the vividly admired organist Thomas Trotter – along with three contrasting shorter pieces.

The Glagolitic Mass is considered his finest non-operatic work. It was premiered a year after the Sinfonietta – recorded in Volume 1 [CHSA5142] – to critical acclaim. This impressive piece makes full use of the orchestra and chorus, with virtuosic solo parts for tenor and soprano, as well as organ. It is set within a frame of purely orchestral movements in which the Bergen Orchestra and its new Chief Conductor, Edward Gardner, demonstrate with authority their deep empathy with the repertoire.

The album is completed by three highly diverse characteristic works: the mournful Adagio, the Slavonic Otče náš and the deeply personal Zdrávas Maria.

“Gardner steers the clash of brass, strings, chorus and soloists with confidence, the instrumental outer movements ablaze with excitement, the whole well balanced but still dangerous and invigorating.” The Guardian, 6th March 2016 ****

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Chandos Janacek: Orchestral Works - CHSA5165


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Arvo Pärt - Musica Selecta

Arvo Pärt - Musica Selecta

A Sequence By Manfred Eicher


Es Sang vor Langen Jahren for alto, violin & viola

Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano), Gidon Kremer (violin), Vladimir Mendelssohn (viola)

Für Alina

Alexander Malter (piano)

Mein weg hat Gipfel und Wennentaler

Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Tönu Kaljuste

Ode VI, from Kanon pokajanen

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tönu Kaljuste

Silouans Song

Tallin Chamber Orchestra, Tönu Kaljuste

Fratres for Violin & Piano

Gidon Kremer (violin), Keith Jarrett (piano)

Alleluja Tropus for choir and string orchestra

Vox Clamantis

Sinfonietta Rīga, Tönu Kaljuste


Saulius Sondeckis (violin/conductor)

Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra

Beatus Petronius

Latvian Radio Choir

Sinfonietta Rīga, Tönu Kaljuste

Pilgrims' Song

Swedish Radio Choir

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tönu Kaljuste

Most Holy Mother of God

The Hilliard Ensemble

Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten

Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Dennis Russell Davies


Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Tönu Kaljuste

Festina Lente

Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn, Dennis Russell Davies


Alexei Lubimov (piano)

SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra, Andrey Boreyko

Stabat Mater

Lynne Dawson (soprano), David James (counter-tenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), Gidon Kremer (violin), Vladimir Mendelssohn (viola), Thomas Demenga (cello)

Da pacem Domine

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Tönu Kaljuste

Composer Arvo Pärt and producer Manfred Eicher have maintained their creative partnership for more than 30 years. Eicher launched ECM New Series in 1984 as a platform for Pärt's music, bringing the Estonian composer to the world's attention with 'Tabula Rasa'. Since that epochal release, all first recordings of Pärt's major works have been made for ECM, with the composer's committed participation.

In this special double album, issued on Pärt's 80th birthday, Eicher revisits episodes from their shared musical quest, evoking fresh associations from juxtapositions of pieces in his dramaturgical sequence, as listeners are invited to hear the music anew. Compositions heard here include the legendary ECM premiere recordings of Es sang vor langen Jahren, Für Alina, Mein Weg, Kanon Pokajanen, Silouans Song, Fratres, Alleluia-Tropus, Trisagion, Beatus Petronius, Wallfahrtslied/Pilgrims' Song, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Magnificat, Festina Lente, Lamentate, Stabat Mater, Da Pacem Domine, and a previously unreleased version of Most Holy Mother of God.

As for the performers, documentation of Pärt on ECM started with the recording of Fratres with Gidon Kremer and Keith Jarrett joining forces for the only time and has expanded to embrace many musicians who have, in turn, become closely associated with Pärt's music. These have included the Hilliard Ensemble, the British vocal group whose pure approach to early music was to prove eminently adaptable to Pärt's timeless oeuvre.

"My contact with ECM is beyond categorization," Arvo Pärt has said. "It is a natural supplement to my composing. Manfred Eicher's instrument is sound, acoustics, the sounding space which can be heard only by him. He hears in a special way and his records are a result of this hearing. What I call a piece of art made by Manfred is actually a rich and sensitive complex of hearing, thinking, feeling, taste and artistic skill, a whole philosophy. It is also something very lively and in continuous formation. Our work together making new records is always a celebration."

“For this excellent two-CD compendium, the producer Manfred Eicher has selected pieces from the recordings he has made over the past 30 years. It’s a perfect introduction to Pärt’s work, ranging from global lesser-known and more recent pieces.” The Times, 25th September 2015 ****

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Foulds: 3 Mantras, Dynamic Triptych, Mirage & Lyra Celtica

Foulds: 3 Mantras, Dynamic Triptych, Mirage & Lyra Celtica


Three Mantras (from Avatara), Op. 61B

Dynamic Triptych (Piano Concerto)

Mirage, Op. 21 (1910)

Lyra Celtica, Op. 50 (c. 1925)

Apotheosis, Op. 18 (1909)

Music-Pictures Group III, Op. 33

April-England, Op. 48 No. 1

Song of Ram Dass

Keltic Lament

“A missing link between Edwardian opulence and the avant-garde, Foulds wrote rampaging, adventurous, iridescent music, splendidly championed by Oramo and the CBSO.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 ****

“The nine works...display the full range of Foulds's talents, from the exotic and the ecstatic to the wild and poetic. Sometimes like late Strauss, at others more early Messiaen, in the end he is purely himself.” The Observer, 11th August 2013

Apex - 2564645113

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From a city window: Songs by Hubert Parry

From a city window: Songs by Hubert Parry


Good Night

To Lucasta, on going to the wars (Lovelace) English Lyrics Set III No. 1

Sleep (Sturgis) English Lyrics Set VII No. 6

Where shall the Lover Rest

What part of dread eternity (Parry?) English Lyrics Set XI No. 2

Julia (Herrick) English Lyrics Set VII No. 5

From a city window

My Heart is like a Singing Bird

Looking backward

Proud Maisie (Scott) English Lyrics Set V No. 2

The Faithful Lover (APGraves) English Lyrics Set XI No. 5

Bright Star

Crabbed Age and Youth

Nightfall in winter (Mitchell) English Lyrics Set VIII No. 2


O never say that I was false of heart (Shakespeare) English Lyrics Set VII No. 4

Dirge in woods (Meredith) English Lyrics Set VIII No. 4

A Girl to her Glass

O Mistress Mine


Willow, willow

And yet I love her till I die (anonymous) English Lyrics Set VI No. 2

Lay a garland on my hearse (Beaumont & Fletcher) English Lyrics Set V No. 4

Armida's Garden

If thou would'st ease thine heart (Beddoes) English Lyrics Set III No. 2

A Welsh lullaby

Ailish Tynan (soprano), Susan Bickley (mezzo), William Dazeley (baritone) & Iain Burnside (piano)

As English song came into full flower at the turn of the 20th century, Parry's substantial contribution to the genre became somewhat buried. Iain Burnside and his singers rediscover what has been forgotten by historical accident. Combining an innately English sensibility with a technical fastidiousness that owes much to the lieder of Brahms, Schumann and Wolf, every one of these songs demonstrates Parry's fundamental concern for sincerity and proper declamation of the words.

Hubert Parry is undergoing something of a revival, and these performances return his songs to the heart of his output, where the composer always felt they belonged.

Ailish Tynan was a Vilar Young Artist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a BBC New Generation Artist and won the Rosenblatt Recital Prize at the 2003 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competion. Susan Bickley is firmly established as one of the most accomplished mezzo sopranos of her generation. In May 2011 she received the prestigious Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK. William Dazeley won the 1989 Kathleen Ferrier Prize. He has appeared with many of the world's important opera houses and worked with many leading conductors and orchestras. Iain Burnside is the well-known pianist and broadcaster, with a reputation forged on his commitment to the song repertoire and his collaborations with leading international singers.

“This release testifies to the rare talent of a composer still to be adequately recognised...There could surely be no finer champions of this art than the singers heard here.” Sunday Telegraph, 20th January 2013

“Among the 27 songs here, fastidiously set to texts from Shakespeare to Scott, are some well-known gems. But many more are revelations. Recorded in Parry’s boyhood home near Gloucester, Ailish Tynan, Susan Bickley and William Dazeley sing them with ardour and sensibility, and Iain Burnside’s piano accompaniments are full of subtle insight.” The Times, 26th January 2013 ***

“The emotional range of these songs, almost faultlessly conceived in terms of textual rhythm, reminds us of just how expert a song-writer and pioneer of the English art Parry was...Full of subtle vocal nuance, excellent diction and discerning accompaniment, the performances are exquisite.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2013

“Superb singing combines with Iain Burnside's eloquent handling of Parry's piano textures.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2013 *****

“The performances are excellent. All three singers do very well by Parry...As ever, Iain Burnside is an immaculate and excellent accompanist...Admirers of Parry will need no urging to add this disc to their collection but others who are interested in English song should investigate it too; I fancy they may be pleasantly surprised.” MusicWeb International, 28th January 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2013

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Elgar: The Kingdom, Op. 51

Elgar: The Kingdom, Op. 51

Claire Rutter (The Blessed Virgin Mary), Susan Bickley (Mary Magdalene), John Hudson (St. John), Iain Paterson (St. Peter)

Hallé & Hallé Choir, Sir Mark Elder

With a text by the composer, and music which is at turns lyrical, mystical and magical, is ecstatic in its glorious choral depiction of the events following Pentecost, when the Apostles began their work for the Church in Jerusalem.

Latest release in Elder and Halle’s renowned Elgar series.

Recorded live at sell-out Bridgewater Hall concert.

Features leading British soloists who are closely associated with Elder and Halle – expressive range of Elgar’s writing for voices in is perhaps its greatest glory.

Previous choral release (CDHLD7520) won Best Choral recording in Classic fm Gramophone Awards 2009.

“Elder’s Hallé forces capture the valedictory tone of the music and its quintessential Englishness superbly. Clare Rutter, Susan Bickley, John Hudson and Iain Paterson sing with sublime gentleness and power, while the Hallé Choir have this music in their blood.” Sunday Times, 10th October 2010 ****

“It is good that Elder and the Hallé are maintaining the UK’s Elgar tradition – no one else is – and they produce a solid performance (appropriately glowing in the choral climaxes)” Financial Times, 23rd October 2010 ***

“Elder clearly believes in every note of this noble edifice and his unforced, coherent conception has a thrilling ring of conviction about it. The soloists comprise a strong team. Iain Paterson is a commandingly articulate St Peter, the ever-versatile Susan Bickley a shiningly powerful Mary Magdalene, and Claire Rutter brings considerable technical acumen and strength of feeling” Gramophone Magazine, December 2010

“There are...moments of inwardness and spirituality where the gleam of the cor anglais and Elgar's ever-emotional divided-string writing make their mark” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 ***

“Elder carries off the remarkable feat of binding the loose episodic structure of the oratorio into a convincing whole; his choir and orchestra respond magnificently to his inspired direction.” Sunday Times, 12th December 2010 ****

“The choral and orchestral writing, especially as delivered here, have rousing climaxes that compensate for more routine Elgariana padding. Worth discovering even if it's not his top work.” The Observer, 19th December 2010

“Mark Elder conducts a radiant account with much dynamic ebb and flow. The Prelude's crescendo is an engine roaring to life. Sections expressing frailty...are compelling...The lively chorus revels in its frequent dramatic interjections.” Classic FM Magazine, January 2011 ***

“Iain Paterson possess a firm baritone and can express character strongly...Susan Bickley sings a controlled Mary Magdalene...I understand that Rutter was a last-minute substitute for this concert, but one wouldn't know it from the radiant performance she gives...Elder has a natural feel for Eglar's expansive phrases and he secures committed playing throughout.” International Record Review, December 2010

GGramophone Awards 2011

Best of Category - Choral

Hallé - Elder Elgar Series - CDHLD7526

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Handel: Esther

Handel: Esther

A world premiere recording of Handel’s Oratorio “Esther” to be released in the 1732 revised version

“Lawrence Cummings emphasises the music's dramatic quality and generally paces it well… Rosemary Joshua in the title role sings the text as vividly as she does the notes. Christopher Purves is striking as the genocidal Haman.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2008 ***

“This is a particularly welcome and important world-premiere recording. Handel composed Esther in about 1718-20 for James Brydges, the Earl of Carnarvon (and later Duke of Chandos), using a libretto that was anonymously adapted from Thomas Brereton's English translation of a play by Racine. This slender work, containing only six scenes, lays a strong claim to being the first English oratorio, but Handel seems not to have considered performing it for a public audience until 1732, when the entrepreneurial composer thoroughly revised the score to fit his company of Italian opera singers (including Senesino, Strada and Montagnana, who all sang in English), and enlisted the aid of the writer Samuel Humphreys to expand the drama with additional scenes. This is the historic version of Esther that launched Handel's oratorio career in London, but it has remained inexplicably neglected in modern times.
Laurence Cummings is one of our finest and most natural Handelian conductors. The Israelite Woman's sensuous opening number 'Breathe soft, ye gales' (featuring recorders, oboes, bassoons, harp, theorbo, five-part strings and organ) is neatly judged by the impressive London Handel Orchestra. The superb choir is enthusiastic and masterful, and the two inserted Coronation Anthems My heart is inditing and Zadok the Priest (the latter given a parody text) are both performed magnificently. James Bowman sounds a little fragile in the most extensive coloratura passages written for Senesino in 'Endless fame', and the part of Mordecai seems uncomfortably low for Susan Bickley (which is not helped by the dragging speed of 'Dread not, righteous Queen, the danger'), but in general the soloists form a consistently solid team.
Christopher Purves is marvellous as the scheming and bullying evil minister Haman, and is equally good at singing the pitiful and lyrical 'Turn not, O Queen, thy face away' when the villain fears his deserved doom.
The all-round excellence of this live concert performance from Handel's parish church, St George's, Hanover Square, makes it an essential treat for Handelians.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Handelians will be flocking to this one, but so should everybody. The first of two Rosemary Joshua Handel outings this month (see Semele, below) is also a world premiere. A remarkable job of musical excavation has given us Handel’s second version of Esther, the oratorio that made his name in London. An exciting, important and touching recording.” Gramophone Magazine

“The all-round excellence of this live concert performance from Handel's parish church, St George's, Hanover Square, makes it an essential treat for Handelians.” Gramophone Magazine, Janurary 2008

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2008

Somm - SOMM238/9

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Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244

Bach, J S: St Matthew Passion, BWV244

Deborah York, Julia Gooding (sopranos), Magdalena Kozená, Susan Bickley (mezzo-sopranos), Mark Padmore - Evangelist, James Gilchrist (tenors), Peter Harvey - Jesus, Stephan Loges (basses)

Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh

Sung with single-voice parts

“In the distinguished performance history of the Great Passion, this is a dynamic and powerful reading. What we have here, primarily, is a compelling directorial vision, a dramatically cohesive whole. The only 'controversial' aspect is the use of single voices in the chorus, thereby applying the research presented in the last two decades by Joshua Rifkin and Andrew Parrott.
However, as it happens, Paul McCreesh sees this option as a flexible way of enhancing the rich expressive possibilities of the St Matthew, a means to a somewhat greater end, thankfully, than joining the band of zealots who seek world domination in Bach vocal performance. And there can be no denying that McCreesh uses the single voices to great and encouraging effect.
The warm intimacy of expression in the chorales is often spellbinding, the lucid realism of the madrigalian commentaries touchingly palpable and the crowd scenes almost crazed, as if you were among the mob. McCreesh's pragmatism also ensures that his quality singers produce a rich tonal body rather than a pushed, squawking consort.
There's some outstandingly characterised singing to be heard here, and a few missed opportunities too. Deborah York sounds somewhat al dente in her soprano arias, a limited emotional range partly accentuated by the colour and subtlety of expression of Magdalena KoOená's 'Buss und Reu' as well as the enraptured and troubled 'Ach, nun ist mein Jesus hin!'. Mark Padmore's Evangelist is highly charged and responsive: at times he hovers, regaling the facts of the matter with disarming poise; at others he becomes agitated, even manic. He seems somehow implicated in Peter's denial in a tableau performed with quite remarkable dramatic power, setting up KoOená's 'Erbarme dich'. Hers is one of the most painfully beautiful performances in years, even if the violin obbligato bulges rather too much.
Of the two basses, the Christus of Peter Harvey conveys neither gilded halo nor testosterone- fired ruddiness but he remains an effective and constant companion. Stephan Loges is rhetorically imploring in timbre, unafraid to take risks and a singer you listen to attentively.
There's yet to be a clear leader in St MatthewPassion recordings, even if that were desirable.
The quality of the production is mainly firstrate, though there are the usual dips and troughs you expect from such a challenging undertaking.
'Können Tränen' is a scrappy and flat affair with a strangely below-par Susan Bickley, and the strings aren't always universally impressive.
Overall, if not as culturally resonant as Harnoncourt's remarkably mature and poetic reading, McCreesh's interpretation has an unremitting singularity of purpose, as aesthetically Protestant as Harnoncourt's is Catholic. A memorable and vitally conceived account.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Though Paul McCreesh uses minimum forces for Bach's masterpiece, with one voice per part, the result has the sharpest dramatic impact, thanks not only to the incisiveness of the performance but also to the vivid immediacy of the recorded sound.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

“Paul McCreesh's audacious decision to use just eight singers makes for an unusual performance - albeit one that is backed by recent research. Whatever the answer to the intractable question of authenticity, the musical rewards are rich - a more intimate and vastly clearer vision of the work. The crowd scenes in particular seem paradoxically more ferocious despite the smaller forces.” David Smith, Presto Classical

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - May 2003

DG Archiv - 4742002

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Songs by Reynaldo Hahn

Songs by Reynaldo Hahn

This two-CD set is the most representative recording of Hahn's songs ever made. It includes the complete Etudes Latines and Rondels (both with choir) as well as many of his most familiar songs.

Hahn, R:

Si mes vers avaient des ailes







Les cygnes


Trois jours de vendange

D'une prison


L'heure exquise

Fêtes galantes

Douze Rondels

Etudes Latines

La Nymphe de la Source

Au rossignol

Je me souviens

Brummell: 'Air de la Lettre'

O mon bel inconnu: 'C'est tres vilain d'etre infidele'

Ciboulette: 'C'est pas Paris, c'est sa banlieue'

Nous avons fait un beau voyage (from Ciboulette)

La dernière valse

Dame Felicity Lott (soprano), Susan Bickley (mezzo soprano), Ian Bostridge (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (baritone)

The London Schubert Chorale, Stephen Layton

“The two cycles, Douze rondels and Etudes latines, are linked by a common fascination with the past.
The Douze rondels were composed to poems in a medieval metre, which allowed Hahn to try his hand at pastiche madrigals and courtly ballads.
The Etudes latines cast their gaze back still further in time to Classical antiquity. For Hahn, that era seemed to represent the ultimate in purity and sensuality rolled into one. This collection of 10 songs is a real discovery and rivals late Fauré, both in its refinement and mesmerising simplicity of utterance. Apart from a few moments when one would like a more substantial tone, Stephen Varcoe's light baritone suits Hahn very well and he's a refreshingly unaffected interpreter, who sings with grace and feeling. Susan Bickley is better at the larger canvas of a piece like Quand la nuit n'est pas étoilée than the more intimate songs but the most celebrated pair of all Hahn's mélodies goes to Dame Felicity Lott, whose sympathy for the French style could have no happier outlet. Both Si mes vers avaient desailes and L'heure exquise are included here, the latter if not an hour, then at least two and a half minutes that are truly exquisite. They are both beautifully sung and are undisturbed by the discomfort around the top of the stave that sometimes mars Lott's singing elsewhere. At the end, she offers four operetta solos as an encore. Graham Johnson's accompaniments are as sensitive as ever. The piano could have been placed a little closer, but the voices have been well captured.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“What treasures are here … The two discs provide an unmissable opportunity to explore a composer who is underrated and overlooked perhaps because he was too modest about himself. There are melodies here which Massenet, Debussy, Fauré and Ravel would have been proud to call their own. No one can fail to have their musical horizon broadened by these discs, which will assuredly come high among my Records of the Year, any year” Sunday Telegraph

Hyperion French Song Edition - CDA67141/2

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Vivaldi - Sacred Music 4

Vivaldi - Sacred Music 4


Juditha Triumphans, RV644

devicta Holofernes barbarie RV644

Echo Award, Germany

Hugely enjoyable ... excellent soloists ...masterly recording
Classic CD

Hyperion - Vivaldi Sacred Music - CDA67281/2

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Benjamin: Into the Little Hill

Benjamin: Into the Little Hill

Benjamin, G:

Into The Little Hill

Susan Bickley (contralto), Hila Pitmann (soprano)

London Sinfonietta, George Benjamin


Michael Cox (flute)

Dream of the Song

Nederlands Kamerkoor (chorus), Bejun Mehta (countertenor)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, George Benjamin

Written in his late teens: Flight, for solo flute, whose swooping crests and curlicues are fervently relished in Michael Cox’s performance. Benjamin describes the piece as ‘inspired by the sight of birds soaring and dipping over the peaks of the Swiss Alps’. Listening to the piece you’ll hear a panoply of songs surfing the musical thermals in the alpine ether: low, long-breathed cries and calls, filigree flocks of ornamentation in the atmospheric heights of the flute’s register, a chorus of vapours conjured by a single instrument.

Into The Little Hill is based on the Pied Piper story, allowing audiences an immediate entry point into the opera’s dramaturgy. But Crimp’s re-telling simultaneously updates the story, with its politicians, photographs, and limousines, and opens up further mythic dimensions to the narrative. The drama of Into the Little Hill is concise, clear, and simultaneously ambiguous, even chilling. Benjamin says, ‘Martin’s text is hard-edged, formal, and hyper-condensed’. The reason for its musical and dramatic success is Benjamin’s unerring feeling for expressive characterisation. Each layer of Into the Little Hill’s score is immediately identifiable, from the Crowd’s baying cries of ‘Kill them’ right at the start of the piece, to the rodentine scurrying of the rat’s music, and the Mother’s lamenting grief in the last scene.

Dream of the Song is a mysteriously sensual and sensually strange song-cycle for countertenor, a halo of female voices that are similar in register, but so different in timbre and sound and expression, and orchestra. The counter-tenor sings poems, in English, by Jewish poets of 11th century Andalucia, themselves inspired by Arabic poetry of earlier centuries. There are images of ravishment and wonder here - moonlight, the celestial tent of the sky, a dream of a gazelle, a harp, a flute - but they are always undercut by other ideas. Above all, it’s the gossamer rapier of Benjamin’s music that cuts to the heart of these settings.

“The opera performance is reason enough to buy this disc, but it is equally welcome for the recording of Benjamin’s stunning recent song-cycle Dream of the Song…the settings range from Mehta’s breathtaking stillness against quiet choral mutterings in ‘Gazing through the night’ to the searing exhortations for the choir alone of ‘Gacela del amor maravilloso’…this latest addition by Nimbus to the Benjamin discography is altogether essential listening” BBC Music Magazine, July 2017 *****

“a rounded and absorbing programme...Hila Plitmann and Susan Bickley evince drama and intimacy aplenty in their multiple roles and Benjamin draws a superfine response from the London Sinfonietta in fastidious scoring (basset-horns and cornets prominent) that greatly enhances the mesmeric aura.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“With its unsettling combination of Gothic claustrophobia and luminous beauty, Benjamin's first opera - a tense 30-minute two-hander, based on the story of The Pied Piper - has much in common with his recent award-winner Written on Skin; the composer conducts, revealing its uncanny beauties with superb clarity in its second outing on record.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, May 2017

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Nimbus - NI5964



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