Volume 1 received wide acclaim, Gramophone hailing it as “a most impressive release”, adding “Gilchrist’s contribution is past praise… [with] immaculate support throughout from Williamson”. Awarded its Recording of the Month accolade, Limelight declared it “a penetrating, frequently revelatory start to a promising new series”.
Featuring 10 first recordings – Elizabeth Maconchy’s Three Donne Songs and seven songs by Doreen Carwithen – Volume 2 focuses on five composers whose belated involvement with song straddled the Second World War.
Maconchy’s Three Donne Songs are described by Williamson in his informative booklet notes as “substantial, ambitious songs, imbued with a genuine sense of drama by an assured composer at the height of her powers”. Carwithen’s seven miniatures represent her complete song output and display, as Williamson notes, “the most imaginative and creative writing… real gems revealing the seeds of a truly imaginative and expressive musical personality”. William Alwyn’s A Leave-Taking deftly counterbalances the obvious influence of German romanticism with music of striking, involving simplicity. Alan Rawsthorne’s Two Songs to Poems of John Fletcher combine Elizabethan counterpoint with music hall humour. Rawsthorne also contributes to Prison Cycle alongside Alan Bush, a vivid setting of political texts by the German socialist playwright and poet Ernst Toller.
Volume 3 features more recently works by Peter Dickinson, Madeleine Dring, Geoffrey Poole, Nathan Williamson, and John Woolrich – the latter three composers all being premiere recordings.Click here to listen to extracts and purchase from SOMM's website