James Gilchrist (Tenor), Roderick Williams (Baritone), Sophie Bevan (Soprano)
SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce a thrilling first collaboration between long-time SOMM stablemates, baritone Roderick Williams and the Coull Quartet, joined by tenor James Gilchrist and soprano Sophie Bevan. With six first recordings, On This Shining Night is a ravishing recital focusing revealingly on a 20th-century phenomenon: works for voice and string quartet. It takes its title from a James Agate setting by Samuel Barber (whose masterly Dover Beach is also heard), here in a sublime arrangement by Roderick Williams. Williams also provides arrangements of Barber’s Sleep Now and three Frederick Delius pieces from his Seven Songs from the Norwegian: the evocative Twilight Fancies, vivacious Young Venevil and exotic I-Brasil. They serve, as Robert Matthew-Walker’s erudite booklet notes observe, as companions to 11 songs by Delius’s close friend and associate, Peter Warlock, including the gentle intimacy of Corpus Christi, the “mini-cantata” Sorrow’s Lullaby, and unique free-recitative of My gostly vader. Composed for Williams and the Coull Quartet, Sally Beamish’s five-part Tree Carols offer striking, variegated settings of poems by Fiona Sampson in their premiere recording. Roderick Williams’ SOMM catalogue include the acclaimed three-volume Twelve Sets of English Lyrics by Hubert Parry (SOMMCD 257, 270, 272), Sally Beamish’s Four Songs from Hafez (Birdsong, SOMMCD 0633), and the classic English song cycles A Shropshire Lad and Maud (SOMMCD 0615), which MusicWeb International declared a “game changer… in terms of our appreciation of Arthur Somervell’s songs”. The Coull Quartet has recorded a wide repertoire for SOMM. Their recording of Nicholas Maw and Benjamin Britten quartets (SOMMCD 065) was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice and a BBC Music Magazine Benchmark Recording. Gramophone declared their recent SOMM release with Clélia Iruzun, Treasures from the New World, featuring piano quintets by Amy Beach and Henrique Oswald (SOMMCD 0609), “a delight”.