The Prince Consort - Other Love Songs - The Absolute Sound

Stephen Hough's Other Love Songs come after the Brahms for contrast and diversion, and were commissioned for this purpose. Hough, best known as a pianist, has set eight excellent poems exploring types of love other than male-female romance. "Kashmiri Song" is a gem, seductive and spooky, with unforced exotic touches and some fascinating polyrhythms. Brahms' later Neue Liebeslieder (New Love-Songs) are tinged with bitterness and violence, and the intervening Hough makes their constant triple meter bearable, an anchor rather than an aggravation.

The Prince Consort, five singers and a pianist, is young and fresh-sounding. The singing is all very clear and expressive, and appropriately Teutonic in the Brahms, they're grand in the Hough. The space is perfect for the group and the music, though the pianos' lows could be stronger.

22 October 2012