The Prince Consort - Other Love Songs - Radio New Zealand

This is a highly accomplished group, with great technical assurance. There's a good flow to the songs, and they're nicely characterised. Much is made of the text, but it doesn't get too much in the way of the overall flow. One of my pet hates is when the text gets in the way of the musical line - the feeling I often get in vocal releases since about the late 1980s - the sweep of the music gets subordinated to momentary detail. As I say, though, fortunately, that's not too much of a problem here. Stephen Hough's Other Love Songs were composed as a complimentary cycle to those by Brahms, and even quotes briefly from the earlier composer. By way of contrast, Hough has avoided the waltz, and avoided conventional love poetry, choosing to concentrate on aspects of love other than the romantic. It's in these songs that The Prince Consort really comes into its own. If there were any slight misgivings that Brahms wasn't really in their blood, so to speak, there are none here. It'll be interesting to see if Hough's Other Love Songs have a life beyond this CD, and let's hope that these young singers, with increasingly busy individual schedules, manage to keep performing and recording together as a group.

Radio New Zealand
28 August 2011