Warlock: The Curlew; Songs for tenor and string quartet; Capriol Suite; Serenade for Strings

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COMPOSERS: Warlock
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: The Curlew; Songs for tenor and string quartet; Capriol Suite; Serenade for Strings
PERFORMER: John Mark Ainsley (tenor) Nash Ensemble/Martyn Brabbins
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66938
In 1994 John Mark Ainsley made a critically acclaimed recording of more than thirty Warlock songs with Roger Vignoles on Hyperion. This new collection again demonstrates his strong empathy with these beautifully crafted pieces. Recently, I praised the new Collins recording of The Curlew; but this new Hyperion wins by the smallest of margins. The Nash Ensemble is superbly evocative, Gareth Hulse’s throaty curlew (cor anglais) is outstanding. Brabbins gives a very persuasive Serenade, so redolent of its dedicatee Delius, and a rhythmically vital Capriol. Of the nine songs for tenor and string quartet, four are sung in versions not previously recorded. All gain from the added colour, for example the gentle ‘Sleep’ (one of Warlock’s finest songs) and the lovely lullaby, ‘My little sweet darling’. It is interesting to have the chance to compare Warlock’s more cheery settings of the same verses in ‘The Fairest May’ and ‘My Lady is a pretty one’. Ian Lace

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