Vaughan Williams - James Gilchrist - The Times Knowledge

Medicine's loss is music's gain in the form of this GP-turned-tenor. Here he gives poignant expression to Vaughan Williams's setting of On Wenlock Edge from A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad, with the Fitzwilliam Quartet providing the burning accompaniment.

At full volume Gilchrist's tone hardens and loses resonance, but he has a simple warmth and easy beauty, perfect for these songs of loss. The Ivor Gurney settings of Housman share Williams's pastoral appeal, while Peter Warlock's rendering of Yeats's The Curlew is as powerful as any verse song. Gilchrist is very much the poet's tenor, although Housman's resentment of any interference by music is entertainingly recalled in the sleeve.

15 July 2007