The Gluepot Connection Works by Ireland, Rawsthorne, Warlock, Bax, Alan Bush, Delius, Lutyens, Walton and Moeran
Londinium Chamber Choir/Andrew Griffiths
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD0180 75:26 mins
Around the middle of the last century there was a pub in central London which the conductor and Proms founder Sir Henry Wood dubbed ‘The Gluepot’, because it was difficult to prise his musicians away from it. Some of the composers who drank there, or may have done, have a glass raised to them in this quirkily themed choral anthology. Tenuous linkages to alcohol apart, there is some fine music-making on this disc. A rapt performance of Peter Warlock’s The Full Heart opens it, the discomfiting harmonies and eerie suspensions evocatively registered by the 40 singers of the Londinium Chamber Choir. Impressive technical control is evident in the hazardous glissandos of Elisabeth Lutyens’s Verses of Love, and the choir’s warmly expressive instincts are confirmed in a blithe, breezy account of Moeran’s Songs of Springtime, with supple, neatly pointed direction by conductor Andrew Griffiths. Some of the Handelian runs in Rawsthorne’s Four Seasonal Songs are smudgy, and there’s wavery tuning in Walton’s Where does the uttered Music go? Clarity is not helped by the fairly resonant recording. But overall this is an enjoyable recital, though the ‘Gluepot’ element does little to bind the repertoire together stylistically or thematically.