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Richard Rodney Bennett: Letters to Lindbergh
Philip Moore & Andrew West (piano)
National Youth Choir of Scotland Girls Choir, Christopher Bell
One of the most versatile musicians of his generation, Richard Rodney Bennett was at the forefront of British musical life for nearly half a century. This new recording from the National Youth Choir of Scotland's National Girls Choir compiles a programme of Bennett's choral works from across his compositional life, as well as a collection of charming folk-tunes and nursery rhymes for piano duet (Over the Hills and Far Away).
This is Signum's second release with NYCoS, who in 2011 became the first youth arts organisation to receive a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. It follows their 2010 debut release of Benjamin Britten's 'A Ceremony of Carols' and Elizabeth Poston's 'An English Day-Book' (SIGCD228).
“This debut recording by Christopher Bell's NYCoS National Girls Choir could so easily have been just another recording of Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, but for two things: the wholesome confidence of the choir itself … and the successful partnering of Britten's masterpiece with Elizabeth Poston's edgy and colourful An English Day-Book.” The Scotsman
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Sure on this shining night, Op. 13 No. 3
Bennett, R R:
A Song at Evening
Somewhere (from West Side Story)
O Salutaris Hostia
I sing of a maiden
Ex ore innocentium (It is a Thing Most Wonderful)
The Land Of Spices
At The River
How Can I Keep From Singing
arr John SCOTT
Fairest Isle (from King Arthur)
Nymphs and Shepherds, Z600
Music, when soft voices die, Op. 25 No. 5 (Shelley)
Love's Philosophy, Op. 3 No. 1 (Shelley)
The Lord's Prayer
arr. Barry ROSE
Skye Boat Song
I Will Give My Love An Apple
Dirge for Fidele
This ‘songbook’ is unique to the Schola Cantorum choristers of Tewkesbury Abbey. “Essentially, it’s a showcase for the Abbey trebles,” their Director of Music Benjamin Nicholas explains. “We’ve been assembling our own 'Songbook' for quite a while now – the songs the trebles sing, from time to time, in boys-only concerts, and which they are taught in individual singing lessons. I’ve always been keen to build each boy up as a soloist, not necessarily with the express idea of them singing lots of solos, but so that they can learn to sing in a soloistic way.”
This is evident most of all in the distinctive singing of 11-year-old Laurence Kilsby, whose gifts won him the BBC Chorister of the Year competition in 2009. On this recording, he features as soloist in two Shelley settings by Roger Quilter, the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria and in John Ireland’s beautiful, sincerely-felt Passiontide motet Ex Ore Innocentium from 1944.
“Throughout, the trebles of the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum give excellent performances of impressive consistency under the leadership of their director, Benjamin Nicholas. They have an uninhibited, fresh sound, coupled with the skill to sustain lengthy phrases with even tone...[Kilsby] displays tremendous maturity both in vocal timbre and in his musicianship...I can foresee a glittering future for him.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2011
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Richard Rodney Bennett: Songs Before Sleep
Bennett is renowned for his film scores and his jazz performance as much as for his challenging concert works.
His film music includes scores for Far from the Madding Crowd, Murder on the Orient Express and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Richard Rodney Bennett has long had a private passion for making collages (and knitting!) and the cover image on this CD is one of his creations, currently displayed at an exhibition of his work in Chelsea.
Born in Broadstairs, Kent, in 1936, he has lived in New York City since 1979. Richard Rodney Bennett received a CBE in 1977, and was knighted in 1998. Bennett studied with Pierre Boulez in Paris.
This new recording spans five decades of Bennett’s song-writing, cherry-picking some of his most accessible and lyrical pieces, from the melodic Songs Before Sleep, performed by Roderick Williams, to the 1920s dance rhythms of A History of the Thé Dansant, the dramatic and rarely-performed Tom O'Bedlam's Song for tenor and cello (written for Peter Pears) and the enchanting A Garland for Marjory Fleming.
A wonderful recording, stunningly performed by a collection of internationally acclaimed soloists.
“[Bennett] creates a campy 1920s-ish idiom, well captured by the versatile Iain Burnside...Benjamin Hulett, with Oliver Coates, sings with commendably Pearsian fervour...Susan Bickley adds mezzo bite to Dream-Songs, while Roderick Williams infuses Songs before Sleep with just the right dark warmth.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 ****
“Performances are uniformly excellent; this is a beautifully judged and planned disc, an undiluted pleasure.” The Guardian, 16th September 2010 *****
“What a treat this is! Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, 74 years young, continues to delight audiences the world over...he also possesses a very special gift for word-setting, if this addictive anthology is anything to go by...Performances throughout are without blemish - and a special word of praise for the supple and intuitive accompaniments by Iain Burnside.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2010
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