IAN VENABLES (b.1955): for Baritone, Piano and String Quartet: The Song of the Severn, Op. 43, for Baritone and String Quartet: Flying Crooked, Op. 28/1, A Kiss, Op. 15, Evening Bells, Op. 31/3, The Night has a Thousand Eyes, Op. 41/2, for Baritone and Piano: The Pine Boughs Past Music, Op. 39, Break, Break, Break, Op. 33/5, Midnight Lamentation, Op. 6, The Hippo, Op. 33/6, The Invitation to the Gondola, Op. 22/3, Frutti di Mare, Op. 41/1.

Catalogue Number: 08R077

Label: Signum

Reference: SIGCD424

Format: CD

Price: $17.98

Description: Venables has been hailed as having breathed new life into English artsong, a genre to which he made a significant contribution, and these fine settings of diverse English pastoral poets confirm this. A student of Arnell and Joubert and an authority on Gurney and Bliss, the composer is no modernist, but his exquisite word-setting, unfailingly tapping into the nuances of his texts, makes his style ideal for poetical expression in music. Song of the Severn celebrates the majestic river, the longest in the United Kingdom, that flows through regions suffused with history and the haunting English landscape, including 'Elgar country'. Setting Masefield and Housman, among others, Venables vividly evokes impressions of time and place in a cycle of five beautiful, passionate and eloquent songs, with sensitive piano quintet accompaniments. The Pine Boughs sets Gurney's poetry, plus Leonard Clark's 'In memoriam Ivor Gurney' in a manner of which Gurney himself would have been proud, perfectly capturing the poems' gentle melancholy, masking deeper tragedy. These resonant settings end with an evocation of the bells of Gloucester cathedral. The other songs are equally skillful renderings of poetic imagery by a variety of poets, melancholy, whimsical, atmospheric and passionate by turn. Texts included. Roderick Williams (baritone), Carducci String Quartet, Graham J. Lloyd (piano).

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