Release date: 19th March 2021.
At the recital’s heart are two substantial cycles. Setting seven poems by Thomas Hardy, Gerald Finzi’s Till Earth Outwears provides an intimate and movingly melancholic commentary in what Ronald Woodley describes in his extensive and informative booklet notes as a “male perspective on life, love and loss”.
Rarely recorded, Howard Ferguson’s five-part treatment of Denton Welch’s poems, Discovery, typifies “the subtlety of the relationship between late romanticism, modernism and the inherited idioms of ‘Britishness’ that composers of Ferguson’s generation inevitably grew up with”. Its second song, ‘Dreams Melting’, provides the recital’s title.
Three songs make their first appearance on disc. Elizabeth Maconchy’s setting of John Donne’s passionate but tortured A Hymn to God the Father boasts a searching vocal line underpinned by tellingly interrogative piano. Phyllis Tate’s The Falcon is a sparse but powerful setting of an anonymous medieval text while her variegated treatment of William Blake’s poem Cradle Song is reminiscent of a Bartók folksong arrangement.
Also heard are Maconchy’s Four Shakespeare Songs and settings of Ben Jonson’s Have You Seen but a Bright Lily Grow? and Robert Herrick’s A Meditation for his Mistress, alongside six varied and vital songs by Rebecca Clarke, including The Seal Man, “one of her most soaring flights of imagination”, and Tate’s Epitaph, in which her “quietly understated writing is masterly”.
Recommended Recording of the Year 2020 - MusicWeb International
“This is another top-notch release from SOMM with excellence in every department- a typically imaginative programme, immaculately performed and produced. This is an absolute gem of a disc in every regard. Without a doubt, Walton was the finer composer of the two with a catalogue of enduring masterpieces. However, the particular delight of this excellent collection is to remind the listener that at his considerable best Constant Lambert was a composer of real stature and one whose star still deserves to shine today.” Nick Barnard, MusicWeb International
"Geer's misty-eyed delivery is on the money." **** Michael Been, BBC Music Magazine
COME, LET US MAKE LOVE DEATHLESS
"There’s little doubt that these studio premiere recordings get to the heart of these songs. James Geer’s clear, direct, lyric-conscious tenor is splendidly balanced with Ronald Woodley’s piano. Geer proves a thoughtful and clever exponent." Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
'By avoiding fussy rhetoric and allowing Holst’s setting to speak serenely on its own terms, they find the music’s effortless nobility. The rest of the cycle, though, is beautifully and straight-forwardly present – and scrupulously prepared." **** BBC Music Magazine
BRITTEN SONGS VOLUME 1
"Another attraction here is the opportunity to sample some of Britain’s best young singers....James Geer turns a nicely expressive line in the infrequently performed Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente."
"As always, Malcolm Martineau’s accompaniments are a constant source of inspiration on the journey – one more reason why this series promises to be a major addition to the Britten discography." **** Richard Fairman, Gramophone