Folk Songs from the Eastern Counties is is the third in a series of four albums recording all 81 of the folk songs in English that Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged for voice and piano or violin. 57 of the 81 songs have not previously been recorded in these arrangements.
SOMM Recordings is pleased to announce Birdsong, a fascinating crossgender exploration of art songs associated with the female voice by baritone Roderick Williams, accompanied by pianist Andrew West. The recital features signature songs from the height of Romanticism by Brahms and Clara and Robert Schumann alongside a more recent quartet of sensuous songs by Sally Beamish. In his revealing foreword, Williams recalls having his choice of Brahms’s Sapphische Ode refused by competition organisers because it was “a woman’s song”. Returning recently to the work prompted him to question why some songs are considered gender specific. Birdsong is his response.
Since Westminster Mass (2000) established Roxanna Panufnik’s firm place among today’sleading British composers, she has often been celebrated for her choral music. Her instrumental and chamber works, however, are equally striking, filled with dazzling imagination and poetic lightness of touch. Her latest album Heartfelt encompasses compassion, tragedy and irresistible humour, while demonstrating her passion for exploring diverse musical cultures, from East Sussex to Myanmar.
Rod Modell is a sound designer / electronic music producer from the Detroit area. He began producing music in the mid-80's using analog synthesizers and drum machines. Rod's work was focused on electro-acoustic experimentation in the early years, making musique concrète compositions with a 4-track cassette machine and field recordings, then branching into industrial soundscape work. More recent recordings utilize more structure and beats, but still retain the atmospherics that Modell is known for. Mood is of paramount importance in a Rod Modell recording (often created with field recordings). Sadly, this element seems to be lost in much of the "clicks & cuts" DSP music of today. One of Modell's favorite pastimes is making middle-of-the-night recordings with his portable DAT machine and dummy-head microphone…
Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside complete their survey of Schuberts song cycles with this recording of Winterreise. Composed in the late 1820s, towards the end of Schuberts tragically short life, Winterreise (Winter Journey) is a setting of twenty-four poems by Wilhelm Müller and describes a traveller leaving the town which was the home of the object of his unrequited love, to embark on a long journey, through a chill, wintry landscape, which ends in near-suicidal despair. This recording represents the culmination of a project that started back in 2015, when Williams accepted the challenge to prepare and perform all three song cycles in one season at the Wigmore Hall in London. Turning this challenge into a shared learning experience, Williams lead workshops and study days as well as numerous performances in a variety of venues. As in the case of the previous instalments (Schwanengesang and Die schöne Müllerin), also recorded at Potton Hall, Suffolk, Roderick Williams is accompanied by Iain Burnside, who plays a Steinway Model D.