English Song Series 12 - Finzi / Williams, Burnside

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Gerald Finzi was a supremely gifted songwriter in the sense that his melodies always seem to flow naturally from and with the text, the harmonic underlay is never obtrusive or pretentious but rather supplies just the right number of notes and amount of color appropriate to mood and meaning. And they're just so wonderfully singable and never show a trace of cheapness or of parlor-style devices. As such, they're very easy to listen to if not vastly varied or notably adventurous (aside, perhaps, from the substantial "Channel Firing"), and if you have a singer as comfortable in this idiom, with as lovely, expressive, warm, and accurate a voice as baritone Roderick Williams, the going is very easy indeed. This recital offers primarily settings of poems by Thomas Hardy (Finzi's favorite source), with a group of Shakespeare songs placed in the middle of the program.

Unlike many song recital discs, this one's repertoire is not only fully compatible, but the progression of songs maximizes their contrasts and keeps our interest while we enjoy Williams' perfectly articulated words and characterful phrasing. His piano partner Iain Burnside is equally committed to the music's entertaining aspects while taking care to ensure good balances and to sensitively execute the piano's often central role in the dialogue. Singer and pianist are substantially aided by very fine sound. This is one of the best releases so far in Naxos' English Song Series--an absolute pleasure!
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8557644

  • UPC: 747313264421

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Gerald Finzi

  • Performer: Iain Burnside, Roderick Williams