James Gilchrist - My Beloved is Mine - MusicWeb International

This is not the first time that I've sounded the praises of James Gilchrist and I doubt that it will be the last. Here he doesn't just sing; he thinks himself vocally into the meaning of the words in such a way that you sometimes feel that two voices are involved, and he's extremely well supported by Anna Tilbrook. All that I really need to do is to refer you to Em Marshall-Luck's review and to add that the 24/96 flac version sounds very well indeed - at £18 it's only a little more expensive than the SACD or the CD-quality 16-bit download.

Of the works recorded here the Holy Sonnets of John Donne are my favourite for the intensity of the poetry and the setting - what a shame that the metaphysical poets, especially Donne and Herbert, are so much less in fashion now than when Britten composed the music - but these performers brought me to a deeper understanding of all the music here, including the varied moods of On this Island, a Britten work which has hitherto eluded me.

Gilchrist's notes offer a very valuable vade mecum to the music, though I'm surprised to see that the obvious homo-erotic appeal for Britten of Michelangelo's poetry - and his statue of David, illustrated on the cover - is not mentioned; it's not a subject that there's any need to be coy about nowadays, as it would have been in 1940.

01 February 2013