The English Song Series Volume 22 - Benjamin Britten

Naxos: 8572600

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The English Song Series Volume 22 - Benjamin Britten

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2012

Finalist - Solo Vocal

Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2012

Label:

Naxos

Catalogue No:

8572600
(8.572600)

Discs:

1

Release date:

30th April 2012

Barcode:

0747313260072

Length:

59 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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The English Song Series Volume 22 - Benjamin Britten


Britten:

Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, Op. 74

Tit for Tat

The Plough Boy

The foggy, foggy dew

Tom Bowling

O Waly, Waly

Oliver Cromwell

The Ash Grove

Down by the Salley Gardens

There's none to soothe

Little Sir William

Ca’ the yowes


Roderick Williams (baritone) & Iain Burnside (piano)

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Britten wrote his Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, Op. 74 for the German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in 1965. The singer admired the ‘concentration and enigmatic smile’ of the settings, and Britten constructed, through alternation of proverbs with songs, and an intense contemplation on the human and the eternal, one of his greatest song cycles. By contrast Tit for Tat sees Britten revisiting youthful, light-spirited settings of the poet Walter de la Mare. The folk-song arrangements are amongst his most famous, and beloved.

Britten’s song cycles are some of the greatest produced in the twentieth century. This disc focuses on his Blake cycle, one of his deepest and most contemplative. It’s contrasted with a very different and youthful cycle of five called Tit for Tat, written when he was a teenager.

The baritone Roderick Williams encompasses a wide repertoire, from baroque to contemporary music, in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital. His recital appearances have taken him to London’s Wigmore Hall and many European festivals. He has an extensive discography and his recordings of English song with Iain Burnside have received particular acclaim.

Benjamin Britten: Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, Op. 74

I. Proverb I: The pride of the peacock

II. London

III. Proverb II: Prisons are built

IV. The Chimney-Sweeper

V. Proverb III: The bird a nest

VI. A Poison Tree

VII. Proverb IV: Think in the morning

VIII. The Tyger

IX. Proverb V: The tygers of wrath

X. The Fly

XI. Proverb VI: The hours of folly

XII. Ah! Sun-flower!

XIII. Proverb VII: To see a World

XIV. Every Night and Every Morn

Benjamin Britten: Tit for Tat

No. 1. A Song of enchantment

No. 2. Autumn

No. 3. Silver

No. 4. Vigil

No. 5. Tit for Tat

Benjamin Britten: Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles"

No. 1. The Plough Boy

No. 5. The Foggy, Foggy Dew

Benjamin Britten: Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements

Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: No. 1. Tom Bowling

Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles"

Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": No. 6. O Waly, Waly

Benjamin Britten: Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles"

No. 7. Oliver Cromwell

No. 6. The Ash Grove

No. 1. The Salley Gardens

Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles"

Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": No. 2. There's none to soothe

Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles"

Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles": No. 2. Little Sir William

Benjamin Britten: Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles"

Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles": No. 5. Ca' the yowes

Financial Times

12th May 2012

***

“this sombre, discomfiting song-cycle [the Blake settings] remains a strikingly modern-sounding work, thanks partly to Blake’s existential poetry and aphoristic proverbs. Williams illuminates the text, but it’s a relief to move on to Britten’s boyhood settings of Walter de la Mare”

Gramophone Magazine

June 2012

“Williams finds an ideal emotional stance - involved, totally word-conscious but never melodramatic...as a recorded recital, Williams - and Burnside, who is similarly colourful but keeps an interpretative distance from pumping up the text - have created an outstanding achievement.”

The Guardian

24th May 2012

****

“Williams's voice is lighter than Fischer-Dieskau's, but his response to the texts is so intense, so well judged that there is never a lack of authority. The juvenile Walter De la Mare settings of Tit for Tat provide the perfect foil, followed by some of Britten's best-known folksong arrangements, all beautifully delivered without a trace of archness.”

BBC Music Magazine

July 2012

****

“Williams brings a gentler, more intimate touch to what Fischer-Dieskau called their 'enigmatic smile': Blake's Tyger burns bright but with less fierce teeth, and there is more melancholy than menace in this performance's view of the human condition. Every beautifully placed word is matched by Iain Burnside's recreation of Britten's pianistic subtext, glinting with many a revealing musical gloss.”

MusicWeb International

July 2012

“It would be easy to exaggerate the claims of these songs [Tit for Tat], but presented so cleanly and with such understanding as do Williams and his superb pianist, Iain Burnside, they make just the effect the mature composer surely intended.”

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