A labour of love for Roderick Williams – he has orchestrated twenty-one songs (twelve of which are divided into two six-number cycles, the Butterworth and the Vaughan Williams; the latter including the haunting ‘Silent noon’) and sings them with the utmost vitality and beauty, as well as discerning word-painting, while benefitting from notably sympathetic support from the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder. The opening John Ireland pair respectively swagger and contemplate, the latter being the wonderful ‘Sea Fever’. There’s not a dud here, however, although we will of course have different favourites, yet overall, Williams has chosen exceedingly well, and orchestrated with imagination rather than second-guessing what the respective composers might have done when scoring the piano parts, although there is no scene-stealing on Williams’s part. The recording is vivid and well-balanced, and the booklet includes the sung texts. Hallé CD HLL 7559.


John Ireland: Great Things
John Ireland: Sea Fever
Ina Boyle: The Joy of Earth
William Denis Browne: To Gratiana dancing and singing
George Butterworth: Six Songs from ‘A Shropshire Lad’
Ruth Gipps: The pulley
Ralph Vaughan Williams: The House of Life
Madeleine Dring: Take, O take those lips away
James Burton: When I set out for Lyonesse
Rebecca Clarke: The seal man
Ernest Farrar: Silent noon