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Shakespeare Songs: As You Like It
Six Elizabethan Songs
It Was A Lover And His Lass
Trois Chansons de Shakespeare (translated by Maurice Bouchor) Op. 28
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
The Compleat Works
Schubert in Blue: Hark, hark, the lark
She Never Told Her Love, Hob. XXVIa:34
Under the greenwood tree
If music be the food of love, Z379
An Epithalamium (A Wedding Song)
Three Shakespeare Songs, Op. 6
Ständchen 'Horch! Horch! die Lerch!', D889
An Sylvia, D891
Trinklied D888 (Shakespeare/Mayerhofer/Bauernfeld)
Songs for Ariel
Lied des transferierten Zettel
Three Tempestuous Tunes
Resonus is proud to welcome internationally celebrated artists Nicky Spence (tenor) and Malcolm Martineau (piano) with the release of a recital album consisting of a musical journey of Shakespeare Songs set by a diverse and eclectic range of composers from Purcell and Haydn, through to Britten, Quilter, Tippett and John Dankworth, via Chausson and Schubert.
Entitled As You Like It: Shakespeare Songs, the album shows the supreme versatility of Spence's voice and abilities from Romantic lieder to jazz-inspired works, all superbly accompanied by the universally acclaimed pianist Malcolm Martineau.
Also included on the album is the world premiere recording of Three Tempestuous Tunes by young composer Alex Woolf. Born in 1995, and already an award-winning composer, Woolf is a principal composer with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and a recipient of the BBC Young Composer Award for 2012.
“Rich and quite strange, to paraphrase Shakespeare is the only possible summation of this dazzling, bewildering collection of songs written for and inspired by Shakespeare. Spence is game for anything...Initially, [he] presents himself as a well-groomed, somewhat unoriginal singer...Soon, though, one realises he is indeed original, suggesting that an undercurrent in his disc is a catalogue of singing styles.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2013
“not only an opportunity to sample the breadth and variety of Shakespeare settings through the centuries...but also the interpretative range of both artists. It's also a lot of fun...[the Schubert are] particularly well suited to Spence's flexible, fulsome and multi-hued tenor.” International Record Review, May 2013
“Spence’s voice is naturally thrilling, radiant and luminescent in just about every second of this programme, crossing stylistic boundaries with the silvery ease of a born entertainer. If anything, the recording production level is a little in-your-face at times, but there’s no getting away from the charismatic listenability of this ultra-svelte performing duo.” The Scotsman, 11th February 2013 *****
Remember Your Lovers
Songs by Tippett, Britten, Purcell & Pelham Humfrey
“Listen to the sheer quality of music-making as tenor John Mark Ainsley is alive to every halting breath of a song.” The Times
“wonderfully performed” Barry Millington, Evening Standard
“John Mark Ainsley brings the full range of his formidable musicianship to these hard-wrought but haunting masterpieces. His ringing high register and almost miraculously expressive pianissimo are on fine display and his enunciation is so clear that for most of this disc you barely need the booklet texts.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2005 *****
“John Mark Ainsley and Iain Burnside make a formidable combination and they are matched here with a formidable programme. Tippett's writing for voice and piano is unremitting in its demands and much less certain in its rewards.
The performers' concentration must be absolute: that is fact. Whether the listener will be proportionately moved is a matter for doubtful speculation.
It goes against the grain to say this, because the Tippett of youthful ecstasy (as in The MidsummerMarriage and the Concerto for Double String Orchestra) exerts a strong allure. But there's no escaping the fact that Boyhood's End and The Heart's Assurance exert a slim hold on the memory – only a few specific phrases, particularly of the singer's music, having stuck.
That is extraordinary, and it is reinforced by the inclusion here of the Canticle by Britten which the mind retains, both in feeling and specific detail.
That work, the setting of Francis Quarles's 'So I my best-beloved's am', presumably has been chosen, as the one item in which Tippett is neither composer nor arranger, because it accords with the line 'Remember your lovers', taken as the title-phrase. I'm not sure it was a good idea, as Britten's mastery suggests just what is so often wanting in Tippett: economy and repose.
The other composer present in force is Purcell and here, curiously, Tippett's self-discipline is impressive, even as against Britten's in his comparable arrangements. Burnside writes in his introductory notes: 'While Britten's dense pianistic approach now jars on ears that have undergone the Early Music revolution, Tippett and [Walter] Bergmann stay light on their feet.' The recording is fine with excellent presence.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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