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Ian Venables - At Midnight

Ian Venables - At Midnight

Songs and Chamber Music


Venables, I:

Invite to Eternity, Op. 31 (Four Songs with String Quartet)

arr. Graham J Lloyd

String Quartet, Op. 32

A Kiss, Op. 15

Flying Crooked, Op. 28 No. 1

The Hippo, Op. 33 No. 6

At Midnight, Op. 28 No. 2


Described as "one of the finest song composers of his generation", Ian Venables’ music for voice and string quartet draws on a wealth of literary and musical sources, in particular from the 19th Century romantic tradition. Performances on this disc come from British tenor Andrew Kennedy and the award winning Dante Quartet.

This release follows On Wenlock Edge, with performances by Andrew Kennedy, the Dante Quartet and pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips of works by Vaughan Williams, Ivor Gurney and Ian Venables.

“In the songs themselves, the vocal line seems central, not as in so many modern compositions added to accommodate the text, and they show a feeling for the singing voice...Andrew Kennedy does well by them: strong, assured and expressive.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2010

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Signum - SIGCD204

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Ian Venables: The Song of the Severn

Ian Venables: The Song of the Severn


Venables, I:

The Song of the Severn, Op. 43

The Pine Boughs Past Music, Op. 39

Songs with string quartet

Break, break, break, Op. 33 No. 5

Graham J Lloyd (piano)

Midnight Lamentation, Op. 6

Graham J Lloyd (piano)

The Hippo, Op. 33 No. 6

Graham J Lloyd (piano)

The Invitation to the Gondola, Op. 22, No. 3

Graham J Lloyd (piano)

Frutti di Mare, Op. 41, No. 1

Graham J Lloyd (piano)


Read Presto's interview with Ian Venables here.

Venables’ reputation as ‘one of the finest song composers of his generation’ (BBC Music Magazine) finds voice in this disc of premiere recordings of two of his substantial song cycles. International baritone, Roderick Williams is joined by the Carducci String Quartet and pianist Graham J Lloyd in The Song of the Severn, a celebration of Venables’ home county of Worcestershire and The Pine Boughs Past Music, a poignant tribute to the poetic talents of Ivor Gurney. Other songs include those with solo piano and arrangements by Graham J Lloyd, for string quartet. Each work highlights Venables’ gift of being able to take poetry to a higher level of appreciation and at the same time create works of lasting beauty.

“Venables’ music is unashamedly rooted in the English pastoral tradition...The two song cycles that Roderick Williams sings with his usual exemplary musicality and tact show how convincing Venables’ occupation of that world can be...Anachronistic though Venables’ music sometimes seems to be, as if yearning for a world that cannot be recovered, it can be powerfully convincing.” The Guardian, 16th July 2015 ****

“Williams is in stellar form throughout (his lustrous tone beautifully captured by the microphones), and he enjoys outstandingly sympathetic support from Graham J. Lloyd (whose pianism is of a very high order) and the Carducci Quartet…No lover of the early-20th-century English art song or pastoral tradition should fail to investigate this notable issue.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2015

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Signum - SIGCD424

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Ian Venables: Chamber Works

Ian Venables: Chamber Works


Venables, I:

Piano Quintet, Op. 27

Mark Bebbington (piano)

Soliloquy for viola and piano, Op. 26

Graham J Lloyd (piano)

Poem for cello and piano, Op. 29

Graham J Lloyd (piano)

Elegy for cello and piano, Op. 2

Graham J Lloyd (piano)

Pieces (3) for violin and piano, Op. 11

Graham J Lloyd (piano)


Ian Venables has been described as one of the finest song composers of his generation. However, the quality of his chamber music is no less impressive, as this CD demonstrates. The Quintet, Soliloquy and Poem are premiere recordings. The works are performed by critically acclaimed artists.

“Ian Venables is a curiosity, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Born in 1955, he composes in a style that for many would appear hopelessly outdated...Yet he carries this off without the results possessing any sense of pastiche. His music is entirely his own expression and, for want of a better word, sincere...The performances are impressive throughout” BBC Music Magazine, February 2011 ****

“The music is highly expressive and easy to follow...Venables moulds his rich textures with real sensitivity, and the piano part always earns its keep too...The ensemble remains tremendously vivacious and impassioned throughout the piece, and I must remark on how glowing Somm's recording itself comes over” International Record Review, January 2011

“these consistently shapely and highly communicative performances must have delighted the composer (who was present at the sessions). Fine sound, too. Lovers of the 20th-century English music renaissance will derive much pleasure from this enterprising and rewarding Somm anthology.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2011

Somm Céleste - SOMM0101

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Ian Venables: Complete Works for Solo Piano

Ian Venables: Complete Works for Solo Piano


Venables, I:

Caprice, Op. 35

World Première Recording

The Stourhead Follies: Four Romantic Impressions, Op. 4

Three Short Pieces, Op. 5

Impromptu: ‘The Nightingale and The Rose’, Op. 8

World Première Recording

Portrait of Janis, Op. 9

World Première Recording

Sonata: In Memoriam D.S.C.H., Op. 1

World Première Recording


Graham J. Lloyd (piano)

As a composer of art-song, Ian Venables is considered to be one of the most important writing today. The Songs of Ian Venables (8572514), Volume 21 of Naxos’ critically acclaimed English Song Series, was the first devoted to a living composer. This new recording introduces us to his music for solo piano and brings together works written between 1975 and 2001. It is Venables’ singular melodic gift and highly inventive use of harmony that combine to give us works that range from the deeply reflective and wistful to those in a lighter vein, full of charm and joie de vivre.

Venables is certainly best known as an art-song composer, one of his country’s currently most acclaimed, but between 1975 and 2001 he composed a number of pieces for solo piano. They are tonal, sometimes nostalgic, rhythmically exciting and filled with the kind of lyricism that listeners will recall from his songs. Four of the pieces in this disc are heard in world première recordings.

“I would commend this CD to all British music enthusiasts. It is the perfect complement to the increasing number of CDs that showcase Ian Venables’ undoubted mastery of English song and chamber music.” MusicWeb International, 22nd May 2013

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Naxos - 8573156

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The English Song Series Volume 21 - Ian Venables

The English Song Series Volume 21 - Ian Venables


Venables, I:

On the Wings of Love, Op. 38 for tenor, clarinet & piano

World Première Recording

with Richard Hosford (clarinet)

Love’s Voice, Op. 22

Midnight Lamentation, Op. 6

Break, break, break, Op. 33 No. 5

November Piano, Op. 33 No. 4

Vitae summa brevis, Op. 33 No. 3

Flying Crooked, Op. 28 No. 1

At Midnight, Op. 28 No. 2

The Hippo, Op. 33 No. 6

At Malvern, Op. 24

A Kiss, Op. 15


Andrew Kennedy (tenor) & Iain Burnside (piano)

Ian Venables is one of Britain’s foremost composers of art-song, and has a significant catalogue of vocal and chamber music to his credit.

Writing tonal music in a warm lyric vein, he has a rare gift of being able to ‘locate’ himself, believably, in a different period and absorb from it, both musically and poetically, all its fundamental beauty, while also producing works of astonishing freshness, naturalness and originality.

On the Wings of Love are settings by non-English poets, while Love’s Voice sets Venetian poetry by J. A. Symonds.

All his songs are sincere expressions of a love of poetry, combined with a profound understanding of musical and poetic tradition.

“A singer of wide, lustrous tone and striking dramatic prowess” The Times on Andrew Kennedy

“[Venables] manages to create worthwhile new artefacts within his conservative idiom. Expertly crafted, the results offer something genuinely personal and at times profound...Andrew Kennedy is the expressive, articulate tenor, and pianist Iain Burnside the outstanding accompanist.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2010 *****

“Andrew Kennedy sings both cycles with great attention to their musical and verbal detail” The Guardian, 25th November 2010 ***

“Venables’ music does seem to me to breathe a definite air of Englishness, even when he is not setting texts by English writers...The standard of performance on both discs is uniformly high with Andrew Kennedy in particular proving to be an expressive and committed advocate for Ian Venables’ songs.” MusicWeb International, April 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - December 2010

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Naxos English Song Series - 8572514

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Severn & Somme - Songs

Severn & Somme - Songs


Gurney:

On your midnight pallet

Dearest when I am dead

Edward, Edward

Dreams of the sea

In Flanders

Severn meadows

Dinny Hill

Captain Stratton's fancy

Red roses

Song of silence

The white cascade

The Folly of Being Comforted

Desire in Spring

Walking song

Lights out

Black Stitchel

Western sailors

Howells:

Goddess of night

Sanders, J D:

On Painswick Beacon, Cotswold choice

Venables, I:

Midnight Lamentation, Op. 6

A Kiss, Op. 15

Flying Crooked, Op. 28 No. 1

Easter Song, Op. 16

Wilson, C:

The empty cottage; Anthem for doomed youth


Roderick Williams (baritone) & Susie Allan (piano)

“Roderick Williams is a national treasure. Not only is he an intensely musical singer, acutely responsive to the sound and meaning of words, but also his approach to the English Romantic song repertoire is…revelatory. (Susie Allan) lingers tellingly over an important detail in the piano writing just at the right moment to complement Williams’s exquisite interpretations. Recordings…balance singer and instruments to something like perfection…Strongly recommended” BBC Music Magazine

“Roderick Williams again shows his merit within the strong English baritone tradition. Not all of these songs fall easily on the voice: Song of Silence and The White Cascade ask for quiet singing in an uncomfortable region of the baritone range. Williams does well, singing with admirable control. Susie Allan is the able pianist...” Gramophone Magazine, Awards 2006

Somm Céleste - SOMM057

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The Moon Sails Out

The Moon Sails Out

Works for Cello & Piano


Gurney:

Sonata in E minor for cello and piano

world première recording

Scott, C:

Lullaby

Sonata for cello and piano

world première recording

Venables, I:

At Malvern, Op. 24

world première recording

Elegy for cello and piano, Op. 2

The Moon Sails Out, Op. 42

world première recording

It rains, Op. 33a

world première recording


Richard Jenkinson (cello) & Benjamin Frith (piano)

This EM Records release of British cello music performed by the Jenkinson Frith Duo presents World Première recordings by Cyril Scott, Ivor Gurney and Ian Venables: Cyril Scott’s monumental Cello Sonata is recorded here for the first time alongside Ivor Gurney’s unpublished one-movement Cello Sonata in E minor.

Cyril Scott’s Cello Sonata was composed in 1958 when the composer had just turned seventy; despite being a late work it is in no way autumnal, but is instead a dramatic four-movement piece that displays all the composer's mature fingerprints. Gurney’s mantle as one of England's finest composers of art songs is now extending to his orchestral and chamber music, of which this sonata is a fine example. Ian Venables, like Gurney, has not only made song a central part of his output but has also composed chamber works of equal beauty and intensity. As well as the early ‘Elegy’ and the later ‘Poem’ the other three works featured on this disc are transcriptions of two of his most evocative songs and a rhapsodic paraphrase of the song, ‘The Moon Sails Out’.

“The absolute technical ease, as natural as breathing itself, on display in the two Cyril Scott works here show that this was a composer who could do anything” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015

EM Records - EMRCD031

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On Wenlock Edge

On Wenlock Edge


Gurney:

Ludlow and Teme

Vaughan Williams:

On Wenlock Edge

Venables, I:

Songs of Eternity and Sorrow, Op. 36


Andrew Kennedy (tenor)

Dante Quartet, Simon Crawford Philips

“…Kennedy… proves himself a rising start with performances keenly sung if occasionally rather mannered, supported by Simon Crawford Philips and the Dante players.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2008 ****

“Venables' songs are sharply responsive to the weight and meaning of every word, and his style ... around Kennedy's voice like a glove ... The tenor handles the texts superbly, making every word perfectly clear” The Guardian

“Kennedy has a big, bright, expressive tenor voice and uses it with fervour, delicacy and imagination ... A thoughtfully realised recital” The Independent on Sunday

“Kennedy's young tenor sounds utterly at ease in this CD of Housman settings by VW, Ivor Gurney and Ian Venables … his musicianship is appealing, and the Dante Quartet accompany with gusto” The Times

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Signum - SIGCD112

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Love’s Voice

Love’s Voice


Finzi:

Oh Fair to See, Op. 13

Gurney:

On Wenlock Edge

Bread and Cherries

Down by the Salley Gardens

Ha'nacker Mill

Snow

Hawke and Buckle

Ireland:

Friendship in misfortune

The three ravens

The Trellis

The Land of Lost Content

Venables, I:

Love’s Voice, Op. 22

Vitae summa brevis, Op. 33 No. 3

Flying Crooked, Op. 28 No. 1

At Midnight, Op. 28 No. 2

The Hippo, Op. 33 No. 6


Nathan Vale (tenor) & Paul Plummer (piano)

Includes world premiere recordings

“Vale and his accomplished colleague Paul Plummer start with an unpublished song by Gurney, the spirited, stirring On Wenlock Edge with a grand tune…Immediately one is made aware of Vale’s clarity of tone, a clarity matched by that of the recording…As satisfying as he is in the liveliness of On Wenlock Edge, he is equally so in Down by the Salley gardens, which he sings with a touch of regret…He also conveys the sadness of Edward Thomas’s poem snow.” International Record Review

Somm - New Horizons - SOMM063

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Sing All Ye Joyful

Sing All Ye Joyful

Choral Works of Ruth Watson Henderson


Henderson, Ruth Watson:

Gloria

Robert Venables (trumpet), Robert Devito (trumpet), Linda Broncesky (horn), Ian Cowie (trombone), Marc Bonang (tuba), Graham Hargrove (percussion), Nicholas Coulter (percussion)

Sing All Ye Joyful

Claire Preston (piano)

Song of Creation - Make Me a World

Claire Preston (piano), Nelson Lohnes (bass)

Cantate Domino

Kimberley Briggs (soprano), Claire Preston (piano), Robert Venables (trumpet), Robert Devito (trumpet), Carrie Loring (soprano), Linda Tsatsanis (soprano), Carolyn Kirby (alto)

Come Holy Spirit

Matthew Larkin (organ)

Magnificat

Matthew Larkin (organ), Kimberley Briggs (soprano)

The Song My Paddle Sings

Claire Preston (piano)

Sing Ye Praises

Robert Venables (trumpet), Robert Devito (trumpet), Matthew Larkin (organ)

In Memoriam Elmer Iseler

The River

Kimberley Briggs (soprano), Claire Preston (piano), Michael Thomas (bass)

Love Songs (2)

Claire Preston (piano)

Psalm 150

Robert Venables (trumpet), Robert Devito (trumpet), Matthew Larkin (organ)


Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams

CBC Musica Viva - MVCD1167

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