Solitude: Songs by Purcell-Britten, Schubert, Barber & Dove
save £0.90 (7%)
special offer ending 30/08/2020
This despatch estimate is based on information from both our own stock and the UK supplier's stock.
If ordering multiple items, we will aim to send everything together so the longest despatch estimate will apply to the complete order.
If you would rather receive certain items more quickly, please place them on a separate order.
If any unexpected delays occur, we will keep you informed of progress via email and not allow other items on the order to be held up.
If you would prefer to receive everything together regardless of any delay, please let us know via email.
Pre-orders will be despatched as close as possible to the release date.
Cat No: CHAN20145
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 3rd July 2020
WorksHermit Songs (10), op.29
Under Alter'd Skies
O solitude, my sweetest choice, Z406 (realised by Benjamin Britten)
ArtistsJames Gilchrist (tenor)
Anna Tilbrook (piano)
1Purcell: O! Solitude, my sweetest choice: A Ground, Z406 (realised 1955 by Britten)
2Schubert: Einsamkeit, D620 (1818-22): 1. Gib mir die Fülle der Einsamkeit!
3Schubert: Einsamkeit, D620 (1818-22): 2. Gib mir die Fülle der Tätigkeit!
4Schubert: Einsamkeit, D620 (1818-22): 3. Gib mir das Glück der Geseligkeit!
5Schubert: Einsamkeit, D620 (1818-22): 4. Gib mir die Fülle der Seligkeit!
6Schubert: Einsamkeit, D620 (1818-22): 5. Gib mir die Fülle der Düstlerkeit!
7Schubert: Einsamkeit, D620 (1818-22): 6. Gib mir die Weihe der Einsamkeit!
8Dove: Under Alter’d Skies (2017): 1. Fair ship
9Dove: Under Alter’d Skies (2017): 2. Calm is the morn
10Dove: Under Alter’d Skies (2017): 3. To-night the winds begin to rise
11Dove: Under Alter’d Skies (2017): 4. With weary steps
12Dove: Under Alter’d Skies (2017): 5. Be near me
13Dove: Under Alter’d Skies (2017): 6. Peace; come away
14Dove: Under Alter’d Skies (2017): 7. Thy voice is on the rolling air
15Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 1. At Saint Patrick’s Purgatory
16Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 2. Church Bell at Night
17Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 3. St Ita’s Vision
18Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 4. The Heavenly Banquet
19Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 5. The Crucifixion
20Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 6. Sea-Snatch
21Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 7. Promiscuity
22Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 8. The Monk and His Cat
23Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 9. The Praises of God
24Barber: Hermit Songs, op.29 (1952-53): 10. The Desire for Hermitage
They open with Purcell’s sublime ‘O Solitude, my sweetest choice’, a masterly setting of three verses from Katherine Philips’s translation of ‘La solitude’ by Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant. Performed in Britten’s beautifully restrained realisation for voice and piano, this song gets to the heart of the melancholy fascination with the lone existence by setting the text over a ground, a repeated bass-line of the sort that Purcell specialised in. Gilchrist successfully highlights the obsessiveness that this device implies, while rising to the technical and expressive challenges set by the composer. In particular, the sighing phrases just after the midpoint and the gaunt emptiness of the close register powerfully, and the piano accompaniment is perfectly weighted by Tilbrook, resulting in a performance of great potency.
After this striking opening, the rest of the disc consists of three song cycles that present highly distinctive takes on solitude, whether sought or imposed. Schubert’s rarely-recorded Einsamkeit, D620, a setting of a cycle of paired stanzas by Johann Mayrhofer, dates from 1818. Probably composed in response to Beethoven’s recently published, groundbreaking An die ferne Geliebte (arguably the first musically coherent song cycle), its six sections present a ‘stages of man’ progress from youth to old age, considering the benefits as well as the material and romantic yearnings of the lone individual as he goes through life. Deserving of far greater exposure than it normally receives, Einsamkeit emerges here with clear anticipations of Schubert’s later song cycles, but also with a clear identity all its own. Gilchrist, one of our great Lieder singers, ably partnered by Tilbrook, does this masterpiece full justice in a performance bursting with character but also retaining a classical poise.
Jonathan Dove’s Under Alter’d Skies (2017) is a powerfully affecting setting of verses from Alfred Tennyson’s In Memoriam A.H.H., written in memory of his close friend Alfred Henry Hallam, who died suddenly in 1833 at the age of just 22. Dove’s minimalist-infused textures, with frequent use of ostinato textures, and clearly delineated harmonic direction, highlight the vast emotional range of youthful grief at the loss of a dear companion, from introspection to anxiety and longing. This is a work of great lyrical passion, as befits a setting of Tennyson’s highly personal text, and Gilchrist and Tilbrook respond with a combination of tonal focus and emotional intensity that is immensely involving.
Last but by no means least are Barber’s Hermit Songs from 1952-53, 10 songs which set marginal jottings by Irish monks that reveal various takes on the life of the hermit, who chooses solitude over life in society, has pangs of passion, but ultimately finds solace in the monastic existence. Encompassing moments of humour as well as tenderness and insight, the texts prompted Barber to some of his finest and best-known vocal music, and Gilchrist gives a marvellously responsive performance with a wide expressive gamut. Highlights include the haunting ‘Crucifixion’, the toccata-like ‘Sea-Snatch’ and the enigmatic ‘Promiscuity’, all underscored by Tilbrook’s finely nuanced and expertly idiomatic playing.
Whatever the present circumstances, this is a fascinatingly conceived and compelling vocal recital, magnificently recorded and further enhanced by thoughtful, illuminating notes from Gilchrist himself. The aptness of the subject, however, gives it an extra urgency and edge, making it priority listening for all lovers of song.
Error on this page? Let us know here
Need more information on this product? Click here