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*New Releases!

DCD34149

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Serenissima: Music from Renaissance Europe on Venetian Viols

DCD34149

A disc of journeying and exploration, paying homage to the pan-European tendencies of a period in which composers, instruments and manuscripts crossed geographical borders; in which a song by one composer might become the subject of ingenious contrapuntal treatments by another and of Mass settings by a third; and in which new dance genres evolved alongside the widespread adaptation of vocal music for performance by instrumental consorts.

The Rose Consort of Viols, already acclaimed for their recordings of later English repertoire, have been inspired by viol-maker Richard Jones’s reconstructions of a Venetian instrument by Francesco Linarol – the earliest viol surviving from the sixteenth century – and trace a path from the viol’s northern Italian origins to England, where it found a particularly welcome home at the turn of the 1600s.

The Rose Consort of Viols takes its name from the celebrated family of viol-makers, whose work spanned the growth and flowering of the English consort repertory. The Consort performs extensively throughout the UK and Europe, appears regularly on the BBC and in the major London concert halls, and has also featured at festivals in Canada and the USA. It has received awards for its research and performance of newly devised programmes and has made a number of highly acclaimed recordings, including An Emerald in a Work of Gold, their most recent CD for Delphian, featuring music by Byrd and his contemporaries in collaboration with The Marian Consort.


DCD34088

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James MacMillan: Visions of a November Spring

DCD34088

For fifty years the Edinburgh Quartet has been one of the leading chamber ensembles of the UK,’ wrote the quartet’s patron James MacMillan on the occasion of their fiftieth anniversary in 2010. ‘I feel proud to be associated with them as they enter their second half-century under the dynamic leadership of Tristan Gurney, providing some of the most exciting performances in the business.’

Exciting is certainly the word to describe these marvellously idiomatic, intensely virtuosic readings of MacMillan’s own music. Spanning his career from 1982 to 2011, they provide three snapshots of his evolving style: an intriguing tissue of Wagnerian referentiality; a burst of youthful energy with touches of the visionary; and the sovereign integration of folk and discursive elements in String Quartet No 3. A moving short tribute, For Sonny, shows another side to this ceaselessly inventive composer’s output.

The Edinburgh Quartet was founded in 1960 and quickly became established as one of Britain’s foremost chamber ensembles. It achieved international recognition after winning the Contemporary Prize at the Evian-les-Bains String Quartet Competition and has since toured extensively across Europe, the Far East, North and South America and the Middle East, as well as appearing regularly at venues across the UK. The Quartet has always been a champion of new music and has worked with many important and prolific composers of our age including James MacMillan, Michael Tippett and Howard Blake.


DCD34137

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In Praise of Saint Columba:
The Sound World of the Celtic Church

DCD34137

This groundbreaking programme from Geoffrey Webber’s consistently inventive choir seeks to recreate three distinct sound-worlds. Just as the influence of Irish monks extended not only across Scotland but also to mainland Europe, so we imagine our way back down the centuries into 7th-century hermits’ cells, 10th-century Celtic foundations in Switzerland, and the 14thcentury world of Inchcolm Abbey, the ‘Iona of the East’ in the Firth of Forth. Silent footprints of musical activity – the evidence of early notation but also of stone carvings, manuscript illuminations, and documents of the early Church – have guided both vocal and instrumental approaches in the choir’s work with scholar and piper Barnaby Brown, an exciting extended collaboration which was further informed by oral traditions from as far afield as Sardinia and the Outer Hebrides.

The Choir have often specialised in the rediscovery of forgotten choral repertories, including previously unpublished music from within the English choral tradition and beyond, and their five recordings on Delphian reflect this. Among the accolades they have received, their 2011 recording of music by the leading British composer Judith Weir (Delphian DCD34095) was BBC Music Magazine’s Choral and Song Choice in December 2011. The choir has also joined together with the Choir of King’s College London in two recording projects Rodion Shchedrin’s ‘Russian liturgy’ The Sealed Angel (Delphian DCD34067) and, most recently, Deutsche Motette: German Romantic choral music from Schubert to Strauss (Delphian DCD34124).


DCD34135

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Handel: The Triumph of Time and Truth

DCD34135

In their third disc for Delphian, Ludus Baroque and five stellar soloists bring to life Handel’s rarely heard final oratorio, a remarkable Protestant re-casting of a work written fifty years earlier to a text by the young composer’s Roman patron Cardinal Pamphilj. Compelled by Time and Truth to accept the divine order of change and decay, Beauty ultimately gives way – as with the aging composer himself – to an assertion of redemption by good works, reflected in the incorporation of choruses Handel had written for the Foundling Hospital.

The resulting work, neglected by centuries of scholarship on account of its hybrid origins, here proves an extraordinary feast of riches, and the ideal vehicle for Richard Neville-Towle’s carefully assembled cast of exceptional soloists, vigorous, intelligent chorus and an orchestra made up from some of the UK’s leading period instrumentalists. Formed in 1998 under the direction of Richard Neville-Towle, the ‘crack group of British early musickers’ (The New York Times) prides itself on the exuberance and energy of its performances, specialising in great works of the early music repertoire. With sisters Mary and Sophie Bevan (the latter having just been shortlisted for an RPS award) jousting with one another in the roles of Deceit and Beauty, the disc makes for revelatory listening.


DCD34140

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Concerto Caledonia
Captain Tobias Hume: A Scottish Soldier

DCD34140

David McGuinness and his virtuoso band of early musickers voyage once more into musical history, and this time the object of their exploration is Tobias Hume, about whose life we know very little. (David’s engaging essay tells us as much as there is to know.) The best guess for Hume’s birthdate could be any time from 1565 to 1579, and the materials documenting his appearance on the fringes of the London musical scene from around 1605 are sparse. This recording draws on the two books of music Hume published in his lifetime, and ranges from capricious fragments of tunes that celebrate the simple joy of playing the viol, to potent moments of substantial emotional depth. ‘My Life hath beene a Souldier,’ Hume declared in 1605, ‘and my idlenes addicted to Musicke.’ Concerto Caledonia have given us the opportunity to indulge in Hume’s addiction.

Concerto Caledonia is Scotland’s foremost early music group, bringing to life the classical and traditional music of the nation’s history. This is their fifth recording on Delphian. As well as appearing regularly on BBC Radio 3, the group has also been broadcast on Radios 1, 2, and 4 and appears regularly in live collaborations at the Edinburgh International Festival.


DCD34142

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The Merton Organ

DCD34142

In a golden age of organ-building, Merton College’s new Dobson instrument stands out as exceptional. It is only the third American-built organ sent to the UK since the Second World War, a bold commissioning choice which Benjamin Nicholas, Reed Rubin Organist and Director of Music in Merton’s recently established choral foundation, and his colleagues made after considering three factors. The College required an instrument that could sympathetically accompany its daily choral services – with sufficient flexibility to accommodate the works of many eras – and that honoured the Chapel’s ancient architecture. The instrument also had to be equipped to perform a large part of the solo repertoire, and it is the success of this third aim that Benjamin Nicholas sought to demonstrate when putting together the programme for the instrument’s first outing on disc. From the pre-pedalboard sophistication of native Stanley, to the mesmerising hues of Messiaen – and encompassing snapshots from the instrument’s vast literature in between – no inquisitive listener will feel short-changed by the gluttony of textures and colours on display here. In his debut appearance on disc as a soloist, Benjamin Nicholas combines flair and intelligence as he presents the stunning instrument he helped mastermind.


DCD34136

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Desenclos: Messe De Requiem, Salve Regina & Poulenc: Litanies à La Vierge Noire De Rocamadour

DCD34136

Winner of the coveted Prix de Rome, Alfred Desenclos remains an almost unknown figure in twentieth-century music. His contribution to the distinguished French tradition of Requiem Mass settings dates from 1963; incorporating influences from Gregorian chant as well as rich harmonies based on added-note chords, this piece with its passionate outpourings is a revelation.

It forms the centrestone of David Trendell’s programme, which also features music by Villette – who shared Desenclos’ interest in jazz – and Poulenc, whose return to Catholicism in 1936 initiated a line of pieces, beginning with the Litanies à la Vierge noire de Rocamadour, that represent some of the most significant religious choral music of the twentieth century. Trendell’s choir is on ravishing form, and the organ at his alma mater, Exeter College, Oxford, partners this music like a velvet glove.


DCD34081

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Postcard from Nalchik

DCD34081

The Edinburgh Quartet, Delphian regulars for nearly a decade in 20th- and 21st-century music, showcase their recent changes of personnel by delving further into chamber music’s glorious past. Here, two of the quartet repertoire’s most familiar – and challenging – works are linked by the less commonly programmed but equally virtuosic Second Quartet of Prokofiev, which shows a Russian composer writing home from the geographical margins just as 150 years earlier Haydn had looked outwards, to the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia and her husband the future Tsar, to whom the Op. 33 set was dedicated.

If the Prokofiev displays all of the new line-up’s corporate and individual dynamic nuance in its energy and folk-inflected vigour, Shostakovich demands – and receives – total expressive commitment in a work which, the composer darkly suggested to a friend, was written in his own memory.


DCD34127

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Rachmaninov Songs

DCD34127

This is the first complete recording for twenty years of Rachmaninov’s published song output. With the addition of two delightfully comic occasional pieces, it lays two further claims to importance: our seven singers – hand-picked by renowned pianist Iain Burnside – are all native Russian speakers, and every song is performed in the key in which Rachmaninov wrote it, respecting both the specificity of vocal colour and the carefully designed tonal and expressive trajectory within each opus.

For the first twenty-five years of his career Rachmaninov regularly expressed himself in song, from Tchaikovskian beginnings to the extraordinarily personal range of vocal and pianistic utterance in his final two collections. Almost a century after exile brought down the curtain on this period of his creative output, Burnside and his singers bring these works to shimmering, gushing, crackling, magnificent life.


DCD34131

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Alfred Schnittke - Complete Piano Music

Simon Smith piano

DCD34131

In 2002 Simon Smith made his recording debut on Delphian in a disc of James MacMillan’s complete piano music, paired with Stuart MacRae’s Piano Sonata. Recordings of music by Hafliði Hallgrímsson and Thomas Wilson have followed. In this new, substantial outing Smith turns from music-making in Scotland to another of his lifelong loves, the music of Alfred Schnittke.

This two-disc set comprises Schnittke’s entire published output for solo piano (including one piece for piano duet and another for six hands at one keyboard). The Russian composer’s music often makes gargantuan demands of the player. Smith’s technical prowess, astonishing dynamic palette and heartfelt musicality make him its ideal exponent.


DCD34123

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John Sheppard: Sacred Choral Music

Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh
Duncan Ferguson conductor

DCD34123

Following Gramophone Editor’s Choices for their recent excursions into the sacred music of Bruckner and of Gabriel Jackson, Duncan Ferguson and the Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh return, in their fourth disc together, to the epoch of their first recorded triumph – the early sixteenth century. Their 2010 Taverner disc won plaudits for its exhilarating freshness and panache, and the choir bring the same musical and liturgical integrity to music by Taverner’s near contemporary John Sheppard, Informator Choristarum at Magdalen College, Oxford (where Ferguson himself was a more recent organ scholar). Centred on Sheppard’s most extended and ecstatic composition, the Missa Cantate, this wide-ranging collection also includes the rarely-heard Gaude virgo Christiphera, Sheppard’s only surviving votive antiphon (with a new reconstruction of the treble part), and the first recording of Adesto sancta Trinitas II. Most remarkable of all is the performance level to which Ferguson has now brought this choir, and the expressive force given to the music by the astonishing agility of voices in the vast cathedral acoustic.


DCD34129

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Remember me my deir:
Jacobean songs of love and loss

Fires of Love

DCD34129

Scotland’s troubadours Fires of Love follow King James VI on a varied journey through song and instrumental music. In the sixteenth century Scotland appeared outwardly to be musically bruised – not necessarily so … As our musicians deftly weave their way through Scotland’s rich tapestry of historic manuscripts, they unveil attractive unsophisticated melodies, often heavily imbued with the French style.

On their arrival in London, James and his musicians would have been taken aback by the highly active theatre scene. Shakespeare’s texts give rise to compelling settings, from the plaintive And will he not come again, poignantly rendered here by Frances Cooper, to the risqué joviality of St Valentine’s Day.

As the Scots courtier-musicians nimbly traded French influence for London’s ‘Englished’ Italian style, one wonders: did they regretfully look homewards – Remember me my deir?


DCD34134

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The Merton Collection
Merton College at 750

Choir of Merton College, Oxford
Anna Steppler organ
Peter Phillips & Benamin Nicholas conductors

DCD34134

In 2014, Merton College in Oxford celebrates its 750th year. Benjamin Nicholas and Peter Phillips’ specially conceived programme journeys through three quarters of a millennium of choral repertoire. Not just a demonstration of this accomplished ensemble’s versatility, the recording also provides a bird’s-eye view of some important moments in musical history, and features two composers – John Dunstaple and Lennox Berkeley – associated with the College as well as three works specially commissioned for the anniversary celebrations. The choir, a relatively recent addition to this illustrious college’s complement of treasures, gives stylish and committed performances in the famous acoustic of Merton’s chapel.


DCD34119

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Ronald Stevenson
Passacaglia on DSCH plus variation sets and shorter piano works

James Wilshire piano

DCD34119

Music of extraordinary range and power composed at the dawn of the Space Age, Ronald Stevenson’s Passacaglia on DSCH was long claimed as the biggest single stretch of music ever written for piano. It is a veritable world tour of styles as well as a single-minded exploration of its generating motif, and rising star James Willshire - who received five-star acclaim in 2011 for his Delphian debut disc of music by Rory Boyle – has the technique and vaulting ambition to match both the work's grandeur and its immense wealth of detail.


DCD34133

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A Festival of Britten

National Youth Choirs of Great Britain
James Sherlock organ and piano
Vicky Lester Harp
Ben Parry overall director

DCD34133

In the thirty years since the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain were born, they have continued to blossom and flourish. New director Ben Parry was quick to notice they share their birthday in 2013 with Britten’s centenary, and the result is this celebratory double album.

Over the course of a year the Delphian engineers have followed the various choirs on their courses, and for the first time all eight groups appear on disc – six hundred singers, eight conductors, in three different venues.

The vast range of Britten’s choral output encompasses work to match the character of each of the different choirs, from the fresh-faced eagerness of the Training Choirs to the maturity and sophistication of the elite National Youth Chamber Choir. The rigorous training all these singers enjoy bears abundant fruit. Their vocal discipline, their energy, their sheer enthusiasm are vividly conveyed in this unique double birthday celebration.

 

DCD34130

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Jean Maillard - Missa 'Je suis déshéritée’ & Motets

The Marian Consort
Rory McCleery

DCD34130

Jean Maillard's life is shrouded in mystery, and his music is rarely heard today. Yet in his own time his works were both influential and widely known: indeed, the musicologist François Lesure held him to be one of the most important French composers of his era.

Who better, then, than Rory McCleery's Marian Consort to give this composer's rich and varied output its first dedicated recording? Their characteristically precise and yet impassioned performances bring out both the network of influence in which Maillard's music participated its Josquin-esque pedigree, and influence on successors including Lassus and Palestrina and its striking, individual beauty.


DCD34118

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Wilde plays Liszt

David Wilde piano

DCD34118

Fifty years after his victory in the International Liszt- Bartók Piano Competition, David Wilde – student of Solomon and of Nadia Boulanger – brings to the studio a lifetime’s experience with the music of Franz Liszt. The diabolically difficult Mephisto Waltz No 1 is dispatched in a reading which overflows with personality and conviction, while Funérailles, too, is compellingly reimagined by an artist who cleaves to an earlier generation’s ideals of recreating both the self and the music in every inspired performance.


DCD34113

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William Sweeney: Tree o' Licht

Robert Irvine cello
Erkki Lahesmaa cello
Fali Pavri piano

DCD34113

Both musically impassioned and socially engaged, William Sweeney’s music is at its most eloquent when voiced by that most human of instruments, the cello. The player navigates a stormy electronic landscape in the Borges-inspired The Poet Tells of his Fame, while Schumann lies behind the powerfully argued Sonata for Cello and Piano, recipient of a 2011 BASCA British Composer Award.

The Sonata bears a joint dedication to Delphian artist Robert Irvine and to Erkki Lahesmaa - ‘keepers’, as Sweeney calls them, ‘of the cello’s inner voice’ - and Irvine is joined by his Finnish colleague here in the 2008 duo The Tree o’ Licht, in which Gaelic Psalmody is transmuted into deepest instrumental expressivity.


DCD34109

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Music from the age of Louis XIV

John Kitchen harpsichord

DCD34109

John Kitchen continues his much-lauded series of recordings of the world-famous collections of keyboard instruments in St Cecilia's Hall - Scotland's oldest purpose-built concert hall - with a programme specially designed to highlight the unique qualities of the 1755 double-manual harpsichord by Luigi Baillon.

Built in Cyteux, Burgundy, it has a very different sound from Parisian instruments of the time; cleaner and brighter in tone, it is the perfect vehicle for Kitchen's subtly nuanced playing, which brings the sophistication of the period to new life.

The familiarity born of Kitchen's daily experience with the Edinburgh collections and their setting shines through these performances.

 

DCD34124

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Deutsche Motette

Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge
Choir of King's College London

DCD34124

Delphian’s superchoir reunites after its highly successful recording of Shchedrin’s The Sealed Angel, this time for a programme of German Romantic music. Strauss’s sumptuous Deutsche Motette is the last word in late Romantic choral opulence, its teeming polyphony brought to thrilling life by this virtuoso cast of over sixty singers.

The rest of the programme explores the vivid colours and shadowy half-lights of a distinctly German music that reached its culmination in Strauss’s extravagant masterpiece. The singing throughout combines a musical intensity and imagination with an understanding of period style, that are hallmarks of both choirs’ work

The Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (directed by Geoffrey Webber) and The Choir of King’s College London (directed by David Trendell) are two of the UK’s leading collegiate and university choirs. Both choirs combine singing at services during term time with a busy schedule of concerts, recordings and broadcasts, both in the UK and abroad.

 

DCD34126

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JS Bach - The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I

Peter Hill piano

DCD34126

Peter Hill’s recording of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II wowed critics across the board in January 2012, prompting The Guardian to write: ‘With luck this is the first in a series of Bach recordings from Hill, and let’s hope Book I of the “48” follows soon.’

His performances of Bach’s first volume of masterpieces exhibit all the qualities that were identified by reviewers of Hill’s previous traversal – ‘warmth, clarity and insight’ (Classical Music Magazine,
Editor’s Choice), ‘vital communication’ (HiFi Critic),‘impeccable’ (BBC Radio 3 CD Review, Disc of the Week), ‘shimmering’ (BBC Music Magazine), ‘liquescent’ (International Record Review).

One of the leading British pianists of his generation, Peter Hill is known for his performances and recordings of twentieth-century and contemporary music as well as the classical repertoire. His complete cycles of Messiaen and of Berg, Schoenberg and Webern have received superlative acclaim. The Messiaen was described as ‘one of the most impressive solo recording projects of recent years’ (New York Times), and won Messiaen’s endorsement: ‘Beautiful technique, a true poet: I am a passionate admirer of Peter Hill’s playing’. Both sets feature in the book 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die.

 

DCD34120

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La Pasionaria

Valentina Montoya Martinez, vocals
Mr McFalls Chamber

DCD34120

Women are at the heart of this disc: warm-hearted South American mothers, women on the town, little girls hanging scared on their mothers' coat-tails, blondes kissing fruitsellers in the Buenos Aires rain … The disc brings together two areas of repertoire which Mr McFall's Chamber have often combined in performance – Valentina Montoya Martínez's songs of life as a Chilean exile, and the music of the tango nuevo, including songs and instrumental interludes from Ástor Piazzolla's ‘operita' María de Buenos Aires, where the character of María represents the tango itself.

‘La Pasionaria' was the nickname of Dolores Ibárruri, a Basque communist leader during the Spanish Civil War. Likewise both engaged and passionate, the songs brought together here – including Valentina's deeply personal odes to her late mother and to the political activist Sola Sierra – pay tribute to the private and public lives of women across Spain and Latin America.

 

DCD34128

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Robert Mackintosh: Airs, Minuets, Gavotts and Reels

Concerto Caledonia

DCD34128

A chamber-scale Concerto Caledonia bring to life a key figure from the Golden Age of Scottish fiddle music,
when the publishing of fiddle music books was in full spate and the familiar forms of strathspey, reel and jig were taking shape.

'Red Rob' Mackintosh, named in the customary Gaelic fashion after the colour of his hair, found himself a place in the orchestra of the Edinburgh Musical Society and set up business as a teacher. (1783) was his first collection, published the year before his ill-fated move to Aberdeen, and it represents his desire both to understand the musical world around him as fully as possible, and to forge himself a career within it. Concerto Caledonia have realised the music from within its pages, shedding light on an age when, not yet 'traditional', such dance genres still bore the imprint of their individual composers.

Concerto Caledonia is one of Scotland's premiere earlymusic ensembles with a reputation for reviving littleknown but important music. With their third disc on Delphian the band bring vital part of Scotland's heritage to a wider audience with the music of 'Red Rob'.

 

DCD34121

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The Coral Sea

Sue McKenzie saxophone
Ingrid Sawers piano

DCD34121

A Robert Mapplethorpe photograph and the playing style of Busoni's favourite clarinettist - just two of the inspirations behind these six recent British works for saxophone and piano, which are linked by the composers' relationship to popular music, whether oblique, overt, or antagonistic.

From the pounding muscularity of Graham Fitkin to the blues-drenched melancholy of Mark-Anthony Turnage, Edinburgh duo Sue McKenzie and Ingrid Sawers bring stylistic authority and idiomatic flair to everything they play on this, their debut recording.

 

DCD34117

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From a city window: Songs by Hubert Parry

Ailish Tynan soprano
Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano
William Dazeley baritone
Iain Burnside piano

DCD34117

Recorded in the music room of Parry’s boyhood home– Highnam Court in Gloucestershire – this disc sees three of our finest singers shed an illuminating light on an area of the repertoire that has rarely graced the concert hall in recent times. As English song came into full flower at the turn of the twentieth century, Parry's substantial contribution to the genre became somewhat buried. Iain Burnside and his singers rediscover what has been forgotten by historical accident, and what a treasure chest of song they have found! Combining an innately English sensibility with a technical fastidiousness that owes much to the lieder of Brahms, Schumann and Wolf, every one of these songs demonstrates Parry’s fundamental concern for sincerity and proper declamation of the words. Still best known for two short choral works, Hubert Parry is at last undergoing something of a revival, and these beautifully articulated performances return his songs to the heart of his output, where the composer always felt they belonged.

 

DCD34125

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Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Suites for Solo Cello

Philip Higham cello

DCD34125

Britten’s meeting with Rostropovich in 1960 was a watershed, the great Russian cellist becoming the primary collaborator of his later years, and inspiring a whole series of masterworks. Among them are the three suites for solo cello, written as a conscious homage to those of Bach (there were originally to have been six). Intriguingly, the Britten scholar Paul Kildea sees the first as a coda to the War Requiem, the second as a snapshot of a lifetime of musical obsessions, and the third as reaching back to much earlier works and suffused with primordial Russian melody. The young virtuoso Philip Higham, one of the only British cellists in generations to have won top prizes at three major international competitions, brings a youthful vigour and deep intelligence to these seminal masterpieces, resulting in performances of commanding authority and intensity.

 

DCD34115

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An Emerald in a Work of Gold:
Music from the Dow Partbooks

The Marian Consort
Rose Consort of Viols

DCD34115

For its second Delphian recording, The Marian Consort have leafed through the beautifully calligraphed pages of the partbooks compiled in Oxford between 1581 and 1588 by the Elizabethan scholar Robert Dow, to present a deeply satisfying sequence of some of their brightest jewels. Sumptuous motets, melancholy consort songs and intricate, harmonically daring viol fantasies are seamlessly interwoven, all brought to life by seven voices and the robust plangency of the Rose Consort of Viols in the chapel of All Souls College, Oxford – where Dow himself was once a Fellow.

The Marian Consort is a young, dynamic early music vocal ensemble founded in Oxford in 2007. Combining academic insight with high levels of performance practice, the ensemble predominantly explores the repertoire of Renaissance and early Baroque music with its director Rory McCleery. They are joined by the Rose Consort of Viols, which takes its name from the celebrated family of viol makers, whose work spanned the development of the English consort repertoire.

 

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