Philip Dukes / James Gilchrist / Anna Tilbrook Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel – Songs and Chamber Works – AllMusic Review by James Manheim

Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel - Songs and Chamber Works

This Vaughan Williams recital makes an unusually satisfying impression, and it may not be immediately clear why. There's quite a bit of unfamiliar material, some of it in unusual versions for which there was no pressing need. But the whole thing hangs together, creates a mood of intimacy, and draws you into the composer's world. At the center is the titular set of songs on poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, an early indication of the instincts of this composer for directly accessible, lyrical poetry with a pastoral bent. The nine poems are convincing entries in the long tradition of wanderer poems, and tenor James Gilchrist catches exactly the right straightforward quality. Sample anywhere in the cycle, perhaps the truly Schubertian "The Infinite Shining Heavens." Elsewhere you get a taste of Vaughan Williams' fondness for the viola (here the fine Philip Dukes), of some unusual works (the Romance for viola and piano was a work found after Vaughan Williams' death), of his circle ("Rhosymedre," from the set of Three Preludes Founded on Welsh Hymn-Tunes, was arranged from its organ original by critic Richard Morrison), and of the precision of .....

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