Scottish Ensemble - Britten - Independent on Sunday

Toby Spence is both English and a tenor. But his singing of Britten's Les Illuminations and Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings is not that of the buttoned-up wordsmith we know as "an English tenor". From the rich sensuality of Rimbaud's Antique to the baleful exhortation of Blake's Dirge, Spence moves skilfully between sexless ethereality, virile excitement, bitter rasping, and an almost feminine voluptuousness. Violinist Clio Gould wins stars as both soloist and director of the Scottish Ensemble, while Martin Owen's horn solo is assured and eloquent. An irresistible recording.

Independent on Sunday
06 March 2005