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My Beloved is Mine

James Gilchrist

My Beloved is Mine

...intimate, charming and glorious
CKD 404 (Linn Records)
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$22.00

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Tracks: Listen and Download

Format
Track Time Listen
1
On This Island, Op. 11 - Let the florid music praise!

On This Island, Op. 11 - Let the florid music praise!

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

03:36 Play $1.70
2
On This Island, Op. 11 - Now the leaves are falling fast

On This Island, Op. 11 - Now the leaves are falling fast

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

02:20 Play $1.70
3
On This Island, Op. 11 - Seascape ('For Kit Welford')

On This Island, Op. 11 - Seascape ('For Kit Welford')

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

02:01 Play $1.70
4
On This Island, Op. 11 - Nocturne

On This Island, Op. 11 - Nocturne

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

03:55 Play $1.70
5
On This Island, Op. 11 - As it is, plenty

On This Island, Op. 11 - As it is, plenty

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:31 Play $1.70
6
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Oh my Black soule!

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Oh my Black soule!

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

03:05 Play $1.70
7
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Batter my heart

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Batter my heart

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:15 Play $1.70
8
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - O might those sighes and teares

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - O might those sighes and teares

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

03:32 Play $1.70
9
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Oh, to vex me

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Oh, to vex me

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:10 Play $1.70
10
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - What if this present

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - What if this present

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

03:15 Play $1.70
11
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Since she whom I loved

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Since she whom I loved

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

03:39 Play $1.70
12
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - At the round earth's imagined corners

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - At the round earth's imagined corners

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

02:32 Play $1.70
13
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Thou hast made me

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Thou hast made me

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:23 Play $1.70
14
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Death, be not proud

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35 - Death, be not proud

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

04:21 Play $1.70
15
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Si come nella penna e nell'inchiostro

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Si come nella penna e nell'inchiostro

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:56 Play $1.70
16
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - A che piu debb'io mai l'intensa voglia

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - A che piu debb'io mai l'intensa voglia

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:28 Play $1.70
17
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Veggio co' bei vostri occhi un dolce lume

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Veggio co' bei vostri occhi un dolce lume

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

03:12 Play $1.70
18
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Tu sa' ch'io so, signior mie, che tu sai

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Tu sa' ch'io so, signior mie, che tu sai

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:44 Play $1.70
19
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Rendete a gli occhi miei, o fonte o fiume

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Rendete a gli occhi miei, o fonte o fiume

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:44 Play $1.70
20
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - S'un casto amor, s'una pieta superna

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - S'un casto amor, s'una pieta superna

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

01:24 Play $1.70
21
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Spirto ben nato, in cui si specchia e vede

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 - Spirto ben nato, in cui si specchia e vede

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

05:10 Play $3.40
22
Canticle I 'My Beloved is Mine'. Op. 40

Canticle I 'My Beloved is Mine'. Op. 40

Composer Benjamin Britten
Soloist

James Gilchrist - tenor

Anna Tilbrook - piano

07:30 Play $3.40
Total Running Time 62 minutes Purchase all tracks 
$13.00 
Prices shown in US Dollars

The charismatic duo of James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook continue their exploration of English Song in My Beloved is Mine. This new recording explores the song cycles of Benjamin Britten, including 'On This Island', 'The Holy Sonnets of John Donne', 'Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo' and 'Canticle I 'My Beloved is Mine''.

The SACD layer is both 5.1 channel and 2-channel. The Studio Master files are 192kHz or 96kHz / 24 bit.

Download includes - cover art, inlay, booklet
Anna Tilbrook

Anna Tilbrook

The distinguished pianist and accompanist, Anna Tilbrook, has collaborated with many leading singers and instrumentalists including Sir Willard White, Lucy Crowe and James Gilchrist. "Anna Tilbrook is excellent" (Gramophone) 
profile & recordings >>
Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten, was an English composer, conductor, and pianist.
profile & recordings >>
James Gilchrist

James Gilchrist

English tenor James Gilchrist is a sought-after recitalist whose voice has been described as pure and sensitive with an even and beautiful tone.
profile & recordings >>

'Gilchrist sings wonderfully while pianist Tilbrook is with him every step of the way...This is a terrific production from Linn.' 4 stars Audiophile Audition

'Gilchrist is a greatly sensitive interpreter, his tone liquid yet urgent, his diction immaculate and august, his choices admirable.' The Sunday Times

For an English tenor, the songs of Benjamin Britten are a rich and hugely important resource. With a great affinity for and understanding of the human voice, Britten has written music of enormous power and conviction. Here is chamber music composed with two particular people very much in mind, where he combines tight compositional structures with real tenderness and lyricism. These works are both approachable and profound, and performing them is a delight. They work in performance, as audiences are moved on so many levels, in both the intellectual and emotional spheres.

It was a form Britten felt drawn to throughout his life, from miniatures in his school days to the fourth canticle of 1971; even thereafter, feeling perhaps that his playing days were behind him, he creates works for harp and voice - folksongs, the Birthday Hansel for the Queen Mother, the fifth canticle - where the hands of Osian Ellis take over from his own. Our choice for this recording includes music composed over ten years from 1937 to 47, and we have decided to concentrate on the larger cycles or sets of songs. These, together with the later Winter Words (which we have already recorded for Linn), are the central ‘meat' of his output for tenor and piano. This ten year span also encompasses the war and Peter Grimes. The war for Britten meant (amongst other things) the articulation and defence of his pacifism (and his consequent ostracism), and his three-year stay in America. Grimes, first performed in 1945, put Britten centre-stage in the British musical world and established him as a major figure internationally. It was a watershed for him. His reputation since has remained rightly secure.


On This Island Op.11 (W. H. Auden)
On This Island dates from 1937 when Britten was 24. This is the year when two important meetings took place: with Peter Pears and with W. H. Auden, while Britten and Auden were working in the G. P. O. film unit. The songs of On This Island are part of a large group of works which this meeting of minds seeded. And they show at once Britten's striking wish to stride out with a new, fresh style. Clearly delineated partwriting and transparent structure combine with a tight motivic development and an easy melodic gift. The poems are amongst Auden's less opaque, and Britten demonstrates his honest ability to distil a thought or an idea and to present it uncluttered. The poem is the servant of the music. Indeed there are here (fewer than in later works) the trademark ‘liberties' of Britten's treatment of poetry: a repeated word here, a deliberately interrupted rhythm there. It is striking that after his work with Auden, he chose, by and large, to set long-dead poets. Perhaps they complained less. Trumpet fanfares welcome us into a joyful hymn of praise to our lover's beauty. The ‘vigilance of breath' inspires Britten to give us his ‘sleep' motif: the long/short susurration perhaps an echo of the sleeping lover's breathing. This motif is heard again in the fourth song of the set (Nocturne), and turns up in later works (Now sleeps the crimson petal, and the longer Nocturne Op. 60) to such great effect. In this first song the opening ecstasy remains unsuppressed by the un-loving forces in the world. Now the leaves are falling fast contrasts a rigid self-righteous straightjacket which contains an unbearable agitation with the opening and closing drops of crystal being the ‘cold, impossible ... mountain's head'. One can run on endlessly about what Auden might mean, but I can't help feeling that the thinly veiled erotic images must be at least part of where Auden wants to lead us: propriety and social normality suffocate lust and true essence. This thought seems prevalent. Seascape is a refreshingly straightforward portrait, underpinned with beautiful economy by a surging-wave figuration. The last song, As it is, plenty, is almost Noël Coward. The biting irony is deliciously underplayed.


The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (John Donne)
The Holy Sonnets of John Donne fling us into altogether a darker world. The set dates from 1945 when Britten had returned from his self-imposed American exile. The war was over. On his return, he (with, amongst others, Yehudi Menuhin) took part in a visit to a recently liberated concentration camp. The dark, serious songs of the Donne set seem to rise from this appalling experience of human cruelty. The poetry is of an older age, and deals with the struggle to make sense of human sexuality and fallibility in a world dominated by inhuman doctrine and hierarchy. God stands at once both distant and personal; faith is sorely tested, but remains secure. Britten finds here fertile ground. This is a profound and intellectual work, and makes great demands on both performers and audience. I find it hugely moving to perform, feeling that we and the audience have travelled a significant path together. The symmetry of the work is clear and effective. We begin with a strident, sweeping vocal line set against the rhythmic heartbeat in the piano. We shall re-meet this vocal line in the passacaglia of the last movement (Death, be not proud) where the melodic resolution of the span of the minor ninth to octave is mirrored by the harmonic resolution from B minor to major. This declamatory, fearful, almost empty (two-part writing, by and large) opening movement leads us to the first fast movement (Batter my heart). The poet begs to be overwhelmed by the divine, so that his earthly preoccupations - surely devilish work - should be drowned in a sacred love. The terror of his helplessness when confronted by his human passions is mirrored in mood and motif in the eighth song (Thou hast made me) where the melodic shape of Batter my heart - three descending notes followed by a rising fourth - is reversed. Within these four symmetrical outer movements the inner five distil their shapes and structure from the outer shell. O might those sighes and teares uses exactly the same melodic shape as Batter my heart, but Britten plays with crushing seconds to sigh and weep with the guilty lover. Agitation and despair return in Oh, to vex me, with a piano part composed almost entirely of seconds and fourths. The poet bewails his own hypocrisy: preaching one day, sinning the next. Rising fourths underpin What if this present. The sentiment feels uncomfortable and logically flawed: beauty can only be an outward manifestation of goodness, wicked souls are housed in ugly bodies. But the pillow-talk insincerity seems to emphasise the falsity of the sentiment. There is no hint of insincerity in Since she whom I loved. Donne had risked his life and soul for the love of Anne More (grandniece of Sir Thomas); this sonnet is a product of his grief at her death. Britten's treatment is tender, rich and compassionate. It is the heart of the work, and a glorious song. Britten puts rests in the vocal line in, at first sight, unusual places, avoiding the obvious breathing places, or the natural ebb of syntax. Over a rocking triplet rhythm of softly shifting major chords, the result is an unbreakable extended vocal line arching over time. Trumpets peal in shimmering fourths in At the round earth's imagined corners. There is something in this song that has echoes of Oh my Black soule!: the slow-moving tempo, the pivot of F-sharp, the death-bed setting, the arpeggiated figuration. After the desperate, breathless Thou hast made me, Death, be not proud (one of Donne's most well-known poems) is a homage to Purcell. Britten (and Tippett) had been bringing the work of Purcell to public attention, and both composers found themselves deeply affected by this meeting over the centuries. Death, be not proud is set over a ground bass of five bars' length. Britten's working - especially the delightful refusal to conform to the metrical beginnings and endings of the bass - mirror Purcell's genius when working in this form.


Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22 (Michelangelo Buonarroti)
The sonnet was clearly a poetic shape that Britten found enormously attractive: the Serenade (1943) ends with Keats' sonnet; the Nocturne (1958) with one of Shakespeare's. Five years before the Donne sonnets, Britten set Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo. Written in 1940 in America, Britten has surely deliberately chosen to set work of an incomparably great Italian from a happier time in that country's history. And his wish to work in a language other than English (Les Illuminations dates from a year earlier) surely shows his determination to put an English writer of song on the international stage, to integrate England, to un-island it. Michelangelo is not greatly valued as a poet (prolific though he was) but these poems express a simple, uncluttered, unfettered love and show perplexity that this in itself should not be enough in the worldly sphere. Britten's setting is understated and honest. The lover's trials do not seem insurmountable; a wonderful irrepressible sunniness shines through this set of songs, written as a gift from one lover to another. The songs and poems are suffused with a wholesome and straightforward worship of the beautiful form. There is something appropriately statuesque in the noble opening song, Sì come nella penna. Breathless with off-beat accents yet long-phrased, the whys and wherefores of the second song A che più debb'io mai give way to the sacrifice of self to the lover. Veggio co' bei vostri occhi is quite the cousin of Since she whom I loved. Using major triads and arpeggios, we sense the world through our beloved's eyes, ears and mind. Three faster, agitated, frustrated movements follow exploring the agonies of unrequited love, lost love and love ill-understood by the world around, and the breathless excitement of the mixing of souls in love fulfilled. Nobility returns in the arcing sweep of Spirto ben nato, and Britten allows himself hints of voluptuous harmonisation of the triadic melody. The cycle ends in the ecstatic contentment of D Major.


Canticle I ‘My Beloved is Mine' Op. 40 (Francis Quarles)
Canticle I ‘My Beloved is Mine' dates from 1947 and is the first of five very different works that Britten titled ‘canticle'. Again, Britten chooses to set poetry of an older age. Francis Quarles (1592-1644) has written a psalm-like poem based on the Song of Solomon, with short antiphonal phrases. Although set as a single span, it clearly divides into four movements. An opening barcarolle rocks to the motion of the two streams which meet in one (very much the mirror of S'un casto amor). A recitative follows (If all those glittering monarchs) harmonised with splashes of sunlight as it were from the previous movement. A presto section (Nor time nor place) decays into a longer lento (He is my altar) with a Purcellian back-dotted rhythm that reminds me of the opening of the John Donne sonnets. Ending in a beautiful arpeggiated vocal line over a serene G Major, this work is a miniature masterpiece.


Anna and I are enormously lucky to have this opportunity to record these glorious works: works which she and I have grown to know over many years and many performances. I hope this record will help to show how important song was to Benjamin Britten, and how these works explore an intimate, personal part of this great man. We are very proud of this recording, I hope you enjoyit.

© James Gilchrist,2012

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Herald Scotland
'....the immaculate duo of Gilchrist and Tilbrook lavished their profound emotional and psychological acuity in a shattering account of Schumann's tender, heart-rending vision of a poet's life and love


MusicWeb International
'he doesn't just sing; he thinks himself vocally into the meaning of the words'
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Opera News
'Gilchrist's humble, deferential singing makes for a lovely, touching rendition'
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BBC Magazine
'an honesty put to the test by the exposed acoustic and a fine artistic imagination are held in a near-perfect equilibrium.'
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'A highly desirable disc.'
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American Record Guide
'Gilchrist’s voice is exquisitely lovely in the style of the English choir tenor, and his singing is supremely evocative.'
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Fanfare
'[Gilchrist] has a real sense of what the songs are about'
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Fanfare
'very fine'
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Pizzicato
A review in German
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International Records Review
'a highly intelligent musical performance'
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Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
'Gilchrist sings wonderfully while pianist Tilbrook is with him every step of the way...This is a terrific production from Linn.'
more >>

The Sunday Times
'Gilchrist is a greatly sensitive interpreter, his tone liquid yet urgent, his diction immaculate and august, his choices admirable.'
more >>

The Guardian
'Gilchrist's rather English sound fits music that was conceived for Pears's equally English style very well, whether in the unbuttoned declarations of love of the Michelangelo songs, or the much darker introspection of the Donne Sonnets.'
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11 November 2014 to 11 November 2014
England, London
King's College, London England United Kingdom
Recital for Armistice Day

12 November 2014 to 12 November 2014
England
King's College, Cambridge England United Kingdom
Bach Magnificat and Cantatas

27 November 2014 to 27 November 2014
Scotland
Usher Hall, Edinburgh Scotland united Kingdom
Händel Messiah

28 November 2014 to 28 November 2014
Scotland
Aberdeen Music Hall, Aberdeen Scotland United Kingdom
Händel Messiah

29 November 2014 to 29 November 2014
England, London
Cadogan Hall, London England United Kingdom
Händel Messiah

30 November 2014 to 30 November 2014
England, London
Cadogan hall, London England United Kingdom
Britten War Requiem

06 December 2014 to 06 December 2014
England
Winchester Cathedral, Winchester England United Kingdom
Händel Messiah

10 December 2014 to 10 December 2014
Europe
Alte Oper, Frankfurt Germany Europe
Bach Weihnachtsoratorium

14 December 2014 to 14 December 2014
Europe
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam Netherlands Europe
Bach Weihnachtsoratorium

16 December 2014 to 16 December 2014
Europe
Meistersingerhalle, Nürnberg Germany Europe
Bach Weihnachtsoratorium

17 December 2014 to 17 December 2014
Europe
Prinzregententheater, München Germnany Europe
Bach Weihnachtsoratorium

19 December 2014 to 19 December 2014
Europe
Michaeliskirche, Schwäbisch Hall, Baden-Württemberg Germany Europe
Bach Weihnachtsoratorium

20 December 2014 to 21 December 2014
Europe
St Gumbertus, Ansbach Germany Europe
Bach Weihnachtsoratorium

22 December 2014 to 22 December 2014
Africa
Konzerthaus, Berlin Germany Europe
Bach Weihnachtsoratorium

15 January 2015 to 15 January 2015
England
New Walk Museum - Lunchtime concert, Leicester England United Kingdom
Recital with Anna Tilbrook

29 January 2015 to 29 January 2015
Wales
Powys Hall Bangor University, Bangor Wales United Kingdom
Recital with Sholto Kynoch

14 February 2015 to 14 February 2015
Europe
Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris France Europe
Händel Hercules

26 February 2015 to 26 February 2015
Europe
Theater an der Wien, Vienna Austria Europe
Händel Hercules

01 March 2015 to 01 March 2015
England
Town Hall, Birmingham England United Kingdom
Händel Hercules

04 March 2015 to 04 March 2015
England, London
Barbican Hall, London England United Kingdom
Händel Hercules