Quilter: Songs

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Collins
WORKS: Songs
PERFORMER: Lisa Milne (soprano), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano); Duke Quartet
To quote the CD booklet, ‘If Elgar was the Edwardian Age’s orchestral composer par excellence, then Roger Quilter was its songwriter-laureate.’ Quilter’s songs are melodious and delightful to sing and play; the vocal lines flow naturally, enhancing the rhythms of the words, and the accompaniments are always interesting and subtly atmospheric and evocative. This excellent CD contains 31 songs: settings of Herrick, Shelley, Shakespeare, etc. Joining Graham Johnson, who provides his customary sensitive and articulate accompaniments, the Duke Quartet adds colour and dimension to Quilter’s song cycle, To Julia. It brings, for instance, soft glistening to bedewed ‘Julia’s Hair’, sung with a fine sense of its line and delicacy by Anthony Rolfe Johnson, who is excellent throughout. Lisa Milne, pure of tone and with impeccable enunciation, demonstrates her flair for dialects in the Scottish songs. Quilter favourites like ‘Go, lovely rose’ and ‘Music when soft voices die’ are included and it’s interesting to compare Quilter’s setting of ‘I will go with my father a-ploughing’ (given a warm nostalgic glow with added violin and cello) with Ivor Gurney’s setting. Ian Lace