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Cat. No. CHAN 10305 Price: £5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10305 - Philip Langridge / Stephen Marchionda - Songs for Tenor Voice and Guitar
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Available From: 11 April 2005
"The pair of songs by John Dowland which frame the programme on this CD are characteristic of his refined and deeply expressive art. Come, heavy Sleep and Weepe you no more, sad fountaines both explore the poetic association between sleep and death yet are not grief-stricken laments but gentle, even rueful reflections on humanity and mortality.

Benjamin Britten always found Dowland’s music very sympathetic. Nocturnal after John Dowland: Reflections on Come, heavy Sleep (1964) for guitar is a set of variations in which the original Dowland theme is not heard until shortly before the end.

Nicholas Maw’s Six Interiors for voice and guitar (1966) might seem to make a bow in the direction of Britten’s masterly Hardy cycle Winter Words but Maw brings his own fresh rhetorical imagination to bear on these characteristically bleak, occasionally sardonic texts. Much later, in 1989, Maw composed his Music of Memory for solo guitar, which, like Britten’s Nocturnal, is – in Maw’s words – ‘a somewhat freely organised set of variations’, or ‘meditations’. The theme is by Mendelssohn, but this is not stated clearly at the beginning, nor at the end: rather, parts of it rise to the surface from time to time, in the wistful, gentle style of the Intermezzo from the String Quartet, Op. 13, shading in and out of Maw’s own harmonically richer but no less poignantly romantic idiom.

Britten’s Songs from the Chinese, first performed at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1958, take us back to the origins of the collaboration between Peter Pears and Julian Bream. The texts, drawn from Arthur Waley’s translations of Chinese poets, are meditations – part stoically serious, part wryly ironic – on ageing, and the music has a particular harmonic and rhythmic subtlety demonstrating the composer’s keen response

to what was, for him, a new medium.


This is rather special: one of the finest British tenors plus a guitarist who can obtain such a range of colour and expression from his instrument that 74 minutes doesn’t seem a second too long… Superb recordings too: intimate without ever feeling too close and finely balanced.
BBC Music Magazine

This is English music proclaiming its pedigree and perhaps asserting a national identity that the post-1945 generation of composers had rediscovered, first with Purcell and then in the High English Renaissance. Nicholas Maw’s ‘Six Interiors’ recorded here for the first time by Philip Landgridge and Stephen Marchionda complements Britten’s ‘Songs from the Chinese’ in this thoughtfully created recital.

Impeccable artistry in the songs and eloquence in the guitar solos.

…on this evidence theres still no finer singer-actor in the world.
London Evening Standard

I doubt whether I shall ever hear Aschenbach sung with more telling, truthful or touching insight.
The Times


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