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Brian: Songs for baritone and piano

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2008

Originally recorded in 2008

Artists:

Brian Rayner Cook

baritone

Peter Lawson

piano

Roger Vignoles

piano

Stephen Levine

violin

Venue:

Wigmore Hall, London


Craxton Studios, London NW3



Producer:

Rick Potter


Martin Anderson

(Executive)

Engineer:

Jules Smith



Record Label
Toccata

Genre:

Vocal & Song


Piano

Total Time - 56:32
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HAVERGAL BRIAN

   
1 

When Icicldes Hang by the Wall

2:11
2 

Take, O Take Those Lips Away

1:03
3 

Sorrow Song

3:52
4 

The Message

2:22
5 

Farewell

4:42
6 

Care-charmer Sleep

4:42
7 

Since Love is Dead

2:50
8 

The Soul of Steel

4:52
9 

Why Dost Thou Wound and Break My Heart?

2:53
10 

On Parting

2:11
11 

Lady Ellayne

1:51
12 

Renunciation

3:34
13 

Love is a Merry Game

1:45
14 

Piping Down the Valleys Wild

2:03
15 

The Chimney Sweeper

2:56
16 

The Land of Dreams

4:01
17 

The Defiled Sanctuary

2:57
 Brian Rayner Cook baritone
 Roger Vignoles piano
18 

Legend

5:47
  for violin and piano  
 Stephen Levine violin
 Peter Lawson piano


Havergal Brian (1876–1972) is renowned as the composer of 32 powerful symphonies (then the largest symphonic cycle since Haydn), 21 of them composed after his 80th birthday; his First Symphony, The Gothic, is reputed to be the largest ever composed. But in the first part of his career Brian was also active on a smaller scale, his songs attracting the advocacy of singers as prominent as John McCormack and John Coates. The range of emotion in these songs is nonetheless vast, from folky innocence via Shakespearean irony to deep tragedy. Brian Rayner Cook’s performances can be taken as authoritative: he studied the songs with the composer. The CD is completed by the Legend, Brian’s only surviving piece of chamber music.
 

‘...For Brian aficionados, this disc … will chart essentially new musical territory, therefore making it mandatory listening. […] Baritone Brian Rayner Cook is a vigorous and enthusiastic singer… pianist Roger Vignoles is a hale and hearty accompanist’

James Leonard
 

All Music.com -

‘...For the first time on CD, magisterial accounts of Brian songs… this [is a] superbly remastered issue, sung vividly in the Wigmore Hall by Brian Rayner Cook, alive to all the moods and colours of this unfamiliar repertoire, accompanied to perfection by Roger Vignoles… warmly recommended.’

Guy Rickards

Gramophone - March 2006

‘...Rayner Cook is a dedicated and probing advocate, perceptively partnered in the often elaborate piano parts by Roger Vignoles. As in the elusive Legend that is Brian’s only extant chamber work, remastering has opened out the high-impact sound of the original LPs… All credit to Toccata Classics for restoring [these songs] to the catalogue’

Richard Whitehouse

International Record Review - March 2006

‘...The recording could not be better – fine performances from Brian Rayner Cook and Roger Vignoles with the recognisably bright acoustics of the Wigmore Hall – highly recommended. […] The performance is atmospheric and first rate.’

Serena Fenwick
 

Musical Pointers - May 2006

‘...This is a fascinating release, and one that every Brian fancier will want… make time for this. You won’t be disappointed.’

Barry Brenesal
 

Fanfare - May/June 2007


"The sound in the songs is big and unapologetic. The notes are exemplary as you would expect from one of the two leading Brian scholars, Malcolm Macdonald. The texts are printed in full. The songs are all well-rounded, well recorded and project a grand nobility aided invaluably by Brian Rayner Cook’s distinctive baritone and the sensitive and, when called for, larger than life pianism of Roger Vignoles. This disc will be widely welcomed. The release on CD of these outstanding performances of intriguing and impressive music should find ready takers in the burgeoning market for British song and for the music of Havergal Brian."


Rob Barnett

 

MusicWeb International - October 2005



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