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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CKD296
Recording details: November 2006
Christ's Hospital School, Horsham, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: June 2007
Total duration: 18 minutes 17 seconds

'James Gilchrist has perhaps a lightish tenor voice for the V.W. Housman cycle but he brings such dramatic power and insight to it and such lyricism to its gentler songs that it matters little. His interpretations of 'Is my team ploughing?' and 'Bredon Hill' are as good as any on disc. The pianist Anna Tilbrook and the Fitzwilliam Quartet are equally superb in evoking the composer's atmospheric instrumental writing. Ivor Gurney's seven wonderful Housman settings, Ludlow and Teme, are also beautifully performed and Gilchrist penetrates to the melancholy of Peter Warlock's The Curlew. Exceptionally fine recording quality' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'And lovely sound is at the core of this recording. Gilchrist sings with a gossamer tone that floats effortlessly through these settings of six A E Housman poems from A Shropshire Lad … he gives 'Is my team ploughing?' that strange question-and-answer-poem, a real narrative drive, and his 'Bredon Hill'—the core of the cycle—is glorious. On Wenlock Edge inspired others to set Housman to music, among them Ivor Gurney, who produced Ludlow and Teme in 1919 using the same piano quintet accompaniment as Vaughan Williams, his teacher at the time. Gilchrist brings the same plangent tone to these songs, and also revels in Peter Warlock's The Curlew and Arthur Bliss's Elegiac Sonnet. This is an excellent collection for lovers of English song' (The Observer)

'[Gilchrist's] is a lighter-sounding voice than some of his contemporaries, but it gives him the colouring to negotiate the often folk-like melodic naivety of passages in this music while losing nothing in textual awareness. He has certainly got the expressive range to bring out the anger in Vaughan Williams's vivid setting of 'Is my team ploughing?' at the same time as the growing doom of 'Bredon Hill'. In this latter song, the playing of Anna Tilbrook and the Fitzwilliam Quartet is at its most finely featured, with hazy strings and the ever-more ominous tolling of the bells, and there is equal character in the Bliss sonnet. Gareth Hulse's cor anglais playing is aptly subtle in Warlock's portrayal of Yeats's curlew, and he is matched by the artistry of flautist Michael Cox. In all, an atmospherically recorded and consummately performed disc' (The Daily Telegraph) » More

'Hearing On Wenlock Edge and Ludlow and Teme together, it's the echoes in the Vaughan Williams of Ravel (with whom he'd just finished his studies) that set it apart from Gurney's much less knowing approach, which is arguably closer to the sensibility of Housman's poems. The tenor, James Gilchrist, catches those different emphases superbly. He is equally vivid in evoking Peter Warlock's The Curlew, whose four settings of W B Yeats, with its accompaniment of flute, cor anglais and quartet, are woven into a miniature symphonic poem and inhabit a very different and rather un-English world' (The Guardian)

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