Silence & Music – Stanford: The Blue Bird; Elgar: There is sweet music; Vaughan Williams: Silence and Music; Howells: The summer is coming; Grainger: Brigg Fair; Vaughan Williams: Bushes and Briars: The winter is gone: The Turtle Dove; MacMillan: The Gallant Weaver; Dove: Who killed Cock Robin?; Grainger: The Three Ravens; Britten: The Evening Primrose; Warlock: All the flowers of the spring; Elgar: Owls (An Epitaph); Vaughan Williams: Rest

Reviewed on Mon 23 Apr, 2018

Sleeve-notes in the form of an extended interview shed much light on McCreesh’s approach to his diverse, carefully-chosen programme.

British part song, once performed and enjoyed by amateurs in home and neighbourhood alike, now seems a rarified genre, and this is perhaps unsurprising; given the technical difficulties of much of the repertoire, it has increasingly become the province of highly skilled ensembles. For those of us happy just to listen, however, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort have provided us with a magnificently performed selection of short works, ranging from Stanford’s masterpiece “The Blue Bird” to Jonathan Dove’s remarkable 1995 setting of “Who killed Cock Robin?”, which develops into a moving requiem, reminding this listener of Vaughan Williams’s tender treatment of Jane Scroop’s grief for her deceased bird Philip Sparrow in his Five Tudor Portraits. Sleeve-notes in the form of an extended interview shed much light on McCreesh’s approach to his diverse, carefully-chosen programme, and the generous acoustic of Charterhouse School Chapel complements the music perfectly. This is an indispensable release for all lovers of choral repertoire.
–Chris Achenbach