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Monday, December 23, 2013

Mark Padmore, Nicholas Daniel, Britten Sinfonia and Jacqueline Shave, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Ten Blake Songs, On Wenlock Edge, Jonathan Dove, The End, Peter Warlock, The Curlew

This somewhat unusual release (Harmonia Mundi 807566) features tenor Mark Padmore in a series of song settings by 20th and 21st century English composers. The Britten Sinfonia accompany him for Jonathan Dove's "The End", a newly commissioned work of melancholy beauty. They also provide the same for Peter Warlock's "The Curlew", a pastoral song cycle with an kind of English impressionist glimmer in a moody setting.

Vaughan Williams is represented by two of his somewhat lesser performed but nonetheless enchanting works. "On Wentlock Edge" is a cycle for tenor, piano, and Sinfonia members, the piano part performed nicely enough by Huw Watkins. "Ten Blake Songs" are for tenor and oboe, with Nicholas Daniel playing the oboe part with definitive evocative assurance. Both represent the rustic side of Vaughan Williams and are alone worth the price of admission.

Ultimately it is Mark Padmore who reigns supreme in this set. He shows himself a singer of passion and dramatic elan. The series of works represented here have in common a set of moods and a quasi-impressionist palette of sound transparency.


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