Related Reviews
AudioVideoHD
4½ Stars
"Por tanto y como ya es habitual en Linn, el sonido es "simplemente perfecto"."
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Opus Musica (Spanish)
Un Cd muy recomendable para aquellos melómanos interesados en la canción de concierto inglesa.
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Pizzicato (English)
Supersonic Award November 2007 - This singer has something above and beyond others...
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Pizzicato
Supersonic Award November 2007 - Für mich ist dies eine der schönsten Lied-Platten der letzten Monate!
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OpusHD.net
'Highly Recommended' from the French website
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Sunday Herald
4 Stars
A performance of 'thoughtful elegance'
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High Fidelity Poland
4 Stars
An excellent review from the Polish audiophile publication
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Independent on Sunday
A beautiful recording of "music alternately windswept and haunted"
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Klassik.com
4 Stars
'James Gilchrist erweist sich wieder einmal als Liedsänger erster Güte.'
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Nottingham Evening Post
4 Stars
Gilchrist's voice is well attuned to this spiritual landscape
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Sunday Telegraph
5 Stars
Five stars for the 'beautifully performed' recording
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Classic FM Magazine
5 Stars
I wish this recording had been around during my formative years, for I'm sure it would have left a lifelong mark.
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
James Gilchrist's elegant, shapely phrasing soars through it all like a bird.
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AllMusic.com
A performance with "polish, power, and passion"
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Audiophile Audition
James Gilchrist is simply without peer in this music...
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Hi Fi Choice
4½ Stars
...winning, measured performances...
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MusicalPointers.co.uk
...it is hard to imagine a more satisfying performance.
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The Telegraph
CD of the Week!
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The Sunday Times
3 Stars
The songs are beautiful...
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sa-cd.net
5 Stars
Artistically and sonically this is an outstanding issue
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HMV Choice
...immaculate diction and mellifluous vocalism...
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ClassicsToday.com
4½ Stars
"Excellent!"
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The Times Knowledge
4 Stars
'...he has a simple warmth and easy beauty, perfect for these songs of loss.'
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The Observer
CD of the Week: 'This is an excellent collection for lovers of English song.'
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The Times
'...as an interpreter of English song, Gilchrist is often in a class by himself.'
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Atlanta Audio Society
The beauties in this recital are impossible to enumerate in a short review.
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BBC Online
...he breathes life into the music here and throughout this evocative disc.
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International Record Review
...unfailing pleasure throughout.
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Audiophile.No (Norwegian)
4½ Stars
...en nesten magisk vokal strofe...der det er fokusert på en flott bredde og dybde i scenebildet...
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The Guardian
4 Stars
James Gilchrist catches those different emphases superbly
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The Scotsman
4 Stars
a deliciously fresh account
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Vaughan Williams - James Gilchrist - Gramophone


02 August 2007
Gramophone
John Steane

Two tenors in the British tradition, although Gilchrist's disc has the edge.

Ainsley, Gilchrist, Bostridge, Padmore and (a little earlier) Tear, Partridge, Langridge, Hill, Rolfe Johnson back to Lewis and Pears: to a foreigner (an Italian, let's say) they must seem very alike and our liking for them not very readily fathomable. We can reply that they're all intelligent, reliable musicians, and that anyway, if it's the present song repertoire we're thinking of theirs was the kind of voice and musical style such songs were written for. Only I daresay we would have to admit that this shared reliability and aptness does not make life easier when it comes to the matter of choice.

John Mark Ainsley certainly has more "ring" than most. There is a considerable sense of power in reserve, which makes his judicious use of it particularly effective. He uses less of that "white" non-vibrating, "spiritual" tone which is thought as typically English. His production is firm but not rigid, and he is not addicted to the pernicious habit of making a little crescendo on individual notes. His virtues are regularly evident in these songs of Finzi, together with good clear diction and a thoughtful expressiveness. And if there is something missing it is a quality not easily identifiable. But try Martyn Hill with Clifford Banson in A Young Man's Exhortation and Till Earth Outwears (Hyperion, 3/90). With him I have a livelier conviction that each song is a distinct, personal utterance, the tone usually a little lighter, the style a shade closer to the presently unfolding communicativeness of speech. I also find in the new recording that the contribution made by the piano part as an independent voice is weakened (contrary no doubt to the intention) by its being balanced so closely with the singer. It presses in too insistently, and forfeits something of its power of subtle commentary.

James Gilchrist has also recorded these songs in an identical programme on the Linn label (8/05), and these too I slightly prefer for their more personal touch and a freer, less congested balancing of voice and piano. His pianist Anna Tilbrook who with the Fitzwilliam Quartet and the additional players works with the singer to give a wonderfully imaginative account of On Wenlock Edge and The Curlew. The developing tale of Bredon Hill has never been more vividly told on records, and the desolation of Warlock's masterpiece becomes more poignant still because of the beauty evoked. Bliss's Elegiac Sonnet, written by himself and Cecil Day-Lewis in memory of the pianist Noel Mewton-Wood, warms where Warlock has chilled, and Gurney's Housman cycle has also its finest performance on record. Strongly recommended.


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