Urquhart

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Urquhart
LABELS: Avie
ALBUM TITLE: Secret and Divine Signs
WORKS: Songs
PERFORMER: Michael Slattery (tenor)Craig Urquhart (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: AV 2088
American composers have occasionally reacted to what is sometimes seen as European complexity with simplicity. That’s fine until the result descends into the simplistic. This album of Craig Urquhart’s settings of Whitman, Emily Dickinson, DH Lawrence and others shows the classical heritage that lies in their background (the composer was for five years Bernstein’s musical assistant) watered down to a point where it has more in common with new age or ambient music. The straightforward, repetitive harmonies and remorseless easy-listening slow tempos do not begin to do justice to the distinctive variety of the poems, while the meandering vocal lines, often mis-stressed, are anodyne. The result has little variety and shows almost no inventive ability. Michael Slattery half sings, half whispers the songs in his pleasant light tenor to the composer’s accompaniment. The sound registers the generally low dynamic level of the music perfectly well. But a little goes an exceedingly long way. George Hall

Advertisement