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Steeped in an atmosphere of ancient Scottish musical tradition, Benjamin Britten’s setting of texts by Robert Burns in A Birthday Hansel was his final song-cycle. Who are these children? is another late cycle to poems by William Soutar, combining darkly dramatic musical depictions of wartime life with protest songs which hark back to the composer’s youth.
Acclaimed Scottish tenor Mark Wilde’s sensitivities embrace both the vibrantly dramatic and “gently mellifluous” (Manchester Evening News) qualities in this deeply expressive repertoire.
Benjamin Britten: A Birthday Hansel, Op. 92
No. 1. Birthday Song
No. 2. My Early Walk
No. 3. Wee Willie Gray
No. 4. My Hoggie
No. 5. Afton Water
No. 6. The Winter
No. 7. Leezie Lindsay
Benjamin Britten: Who are these Children?, Op. 84
No. 1. A Riddle (The Earth)
No. 2. A Laddie's Sang
No. 3. Nightmare
No. 4. Black Day
No. 5. Bed-time
No. 6. Slaughter
No. 7. A Riddle (The Child You Were)
No. 8. The Lark Lad
No. 9. Who are these Children?
No. 10. Supper
No. 11. The Children
No. 12. The Auld Aik
Benjamin Britten: Cradle Song, "Sleep, my darling, sleep"
Cradle Song, "Sleep, my darling, sleep"
Benjamin Britten: Beware!: No. 2. O that I had ne'er been married
Beware!: No. 2. O that I had ne'er been married
Benjamin Britten: Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles"
Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles": No. 5. Ca' the yowes
Benjamin Britten: Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles"
No. 2. There's none to soothe
Benjamin Britten: Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles"
No. 4. O can ye sew cushions?
No. 3. The Bonny Earl o' Moray
Benjamin Britten: 8 Folk Song Arrangements
8 Folk Song Arrangements: No. 4. Bonny at morn
Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles"
No. 7. Come you not from Newcastle?
Benjamin Britten: Dawtie's Devotion
Benjamin Britten: The Gully
Benjamin Britten: Tradition
Benjamin Britten: 4 Burns Songs (arr. C. Matthews for voice and piano)
No. 1. Afton Water
No. 2. Wee Willie
No. 3. The Winter
No. 4. My Hoggie
11th August 2011
“This is a fascinating recital of all Britten’s “north of the border” settings, including his final song cycle A Birthday Hansel and familiar folk-songs such as Ca’the Yowes. The mood is mostly bleak, haunted and haunting: this is Britten at his most austerely romantic and melancholy.”
13th August 2011
“Sensitive harp accompaniment brings to life this setting of poems from Robert Burns and William Soutar”
“The Scottish tenor has matured into one of our finest artists with time's passing, musically astute, vocally impressive and a generous communicator...the intense beauty of Wilde's lyric voice and the musical wisdom of these interpretations pay handsome compensation for the recital's want of spectacular contrasts.”
Awards Issue 2011
“[In "A Birthday Hansel"] Wilde takes his time and uses his pliable voice to play with light and shade in atmospheric performances. The Soutar cycle, "Who are these children?", is also unhurried, adding several minutes to the timing of Peter Pears's recording, though Wilde generally uses the time productively. The headlong violence of "Slaughter" is more intelligible at this speed and "The Children" has a properly haunting air.”