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Williams, West – Birdsong (24/96 FLAC)

Williams, West - Birdsong (24/96 FLAC)

Williams, West – Birdsong (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Sally Beamish, Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann
Performer: Roderick Williams, Andrew West
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Somm
Catalogue: SOMMCD0633
Release: 2021
Size: 1.01 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Brahms: An die Nachtigall, Op. 46 No. 4 (Text: L.C.H. Hölty)
02. Brahms: Mädchenlied, Op. 107 No. 5
03. Brahms: Das Mädchen, Op. 95 No. 1
04. Schumann, Clara: Liebst du um Schönheit, Op. 12 No. 2
05. Brahms: Das Mädchen spricht, Op. 107 No. 3
06. Brahms: Salamander, Op. 107 No. 2
07. Brahms: Nachtigall, Op. 97 No. 1

Beamish: 4 Songs from Hafez (Arr. for Baritone & Piano)
08. No. 1, Nightingale
09. No. 2, Peacock
10. No. 3, Fish
11. No. 4, Hoopoe

12. Brahms: Vergebliches Ständchen, Op. 84 No. 4 (Arr. for Baritone & Piano)
13. Brahms: Sapphische Ode, Op. 94 No. 4
14. Brahms: Von ewiger Lieber, Op. 43 No. 1

Schumann: Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42
15. No. 1, Seit ich ihn gesehen
16. No. 2, Er, der Herrlichste von allen
17. No. 3, Ich kann’s nicht fassen, nicht glauben
18. No. 4, Du Ring an meinem Finger
19. No. 5, Helft mir, ihr Schwestern
20. No. 6, Süsser Freund
21. No. 7, An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust
22. No. 8, Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan

The recital features signature songs from the height of Romanticism by Brahms and Clara and Robert Schumann alongside a more recent quartet of sensuous songs by Sally Beamish. In his revealing foreword, Roderick Williams recalls having his choice of Brahms’s Sapphische Ode refused by competition organisers because it was “a woman’s song”. Returning recently to the work prompted him to question why some songs are considered gender-specific. “Birdsong” is his response.

In his informative booklet notes, Richard Stokes notes that Brahms’s songs “betrays his own essentially melancholic nature” and his difficulty in “sustaining emotional relationships with the women in his life”. His nine songs here include the bittersweet An die Nachtigall, the moving innocent ardency ofDas Mädchen spricht and the quiet, earnest longing of Sapphische Ode.

Clara Schumann’s Liebst du um Schönheit provides an authentic female perspective on courtship, as does Sally Beamish’s Four Songs from Hafez (for which she provides her own notes), taking inspiration from the Iranian-born, Glasgow-based Jila Peacock’s evocative translations and artistic rendering of the 14th-century Persian Sufi poet’s texts. An intimate exploration of a young woman’s feelings towards an older man of higher birth, Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und-leben acquires new facets when heard in Roderick Williams’ characterful baritone.

SOMM Recordings is pleased to announce Birdsong, a fascinating crossgender exploration of art songs associated with the female voice by baritone Roderick Williams, accompanied by pianist Andrew West. The recital features signature songs from the height of Romanticism by Brahms and Clara and Robert Schumann alongside a more recent quartet of sensuous songs by Sally Beamish. In his revealing foreword, Williams recalls having his choice of Brahms’s Sapphische Ode refused by competition organisers because it was “a woman’s song”. Returning recently to the work prompted him to question why some songs are considered gender specific. Birdsong is his response.

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