Britten, Finzi & Tippett: Songs

This enthralling new recording from Mark Padmore and Roger Vignoles finds its emotional heart in the theme of youth, and in particular the passage of time inherent in this all-too-transient phase of human existence.

Opening with Boyhood’s End by Sir Michael Tippett (whose centenary falls in 2005), we are transported through Gerald Finzi’s wondrous A Young Man’s Exhortation—to the poetry of Thomas Hardy—to three rarely performed works by Benjamin Britten. Who are these children?, twelve songs to words by William Soutar, is a fascinating response to the themes of innocent childhood (the ‘Scottish’ songs) and the tragic loss of this childhood (the ‘English’ songs—written as a reaction to war-time photographs published in 1941).

The Sechs Hölderlin-Fragemente have been neglected on the concert platform, not least because they are rare in Britten’s song output as being in German. The music owes something to its composer’s love of the lieder of Hugo Wolf. Um Mitternacht is Britten’s only setting of Goethe. There is some evidence that a cycle was planned, but in the event this single song had to wait till 1994 before it was published as part of the collection A Red Cockatoo & other songs.

Roger Vignoles sensitively brings life to the piano accompaniments beneath the ardent tenor of Mark Padmore, as performances and programme combine to create a most satisfying recital.

CDA67459  76 minutes 1 seconds
TOP TEN RECORDS OF THE YEAR 2005 (Paul Driver & Stephen Pettitt) - The Sunday Times
TOP 10 CDs OF THE YEAR 2005 - The Sunday Telegraph
‘This is still a voice of youthful freshness, commanded with skill and assurance. The programme tests his musicianship very thoroughly, and it reveals also considerable powers of expressiveness, both ...
‘Sung by Mark Padmore who, on this form and in this repertory, seems to me to be unrivalled among younger English tenors … with Roger Vignoles as the Britten-like pianist, this ranks as one of th ...
‘Mark Padmore and Roger Vignoles perform all these songs with great understanding and sensitivity; in fact I was surprised at how much intensity of feeling they found in the stark Hölderlein songs. Pa ...