Classical CD of the month: Songs by Samuel Barber

Performances of this calibre emphasise Barber's stature in the mainstream of 20th century song composers, says Gramophone reviewer Peter Dickinson.

This CD is a pretty stunning achievement. At his most mellifluous, Gerald Finley has beauty of tone to spare. He is at his most expressive hollowing out the voice for the hopelessness of the song 'Bessie Bobtail', letting it splinter with anger at the climax of the furious 'Sea Snatch'.

Julius Drake proves a predictably accomplished, thoughtful partner. The pair move easily from the prettiness of the early songs through the complexities of the Hermit Songs and the pensive Melodies Passageres.

The overwhelming feeling here is of idealism tainted. Finley gains in power, attaining at points the kind of bitter life-force so well remembered from his performance in Turnage's anti-war opera The Silver Tassie.

The introduction of the string quartet to close the disc shifts the mood, sending us off in another direction. It comes as a hopeful reminder of the wonder of love, even with a sting in its tail. Entirely appropriate for a bittersweet, marvellous collection. This release certainly does credit to Barber in what will soon be a run-up to his centenary.

Composer: Samuel Barber
Artists: Gerald Finley, baritone, Julius Drake, pianoforte
Label: Hypericon

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

£20 notes spread out

VAT trap for PCNs could strip millions of pounds from general practice

Tens of millions of pounds could be stripped from general practice because work carried...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Is the BMA representing GPs effectively, why GPs face a pension tax hit, and views on the workload crisis

In our regular news review the team discusses representation of GPs, a new survey...

Man sleeping

NICE guidance on insomnia backs app to replace sleeping pills

Hundreds of thousands of people with insomnia could be offered treatment via a mobile...

Health worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine

JCVI backs autumn COVID-19 booster campaign for high-risk adults and NHS staff

Frontline health and social care staff and adults at increased risk of severe illness...

GP consultation

Government accused of 'misleading' claims on general practice workforce

GP leaders have accused the government of making misleading claims about the general...

Consulting room door

LMC calls for enhanced access to be scrapped after abuse forces practice to close reception

A Midlands LMC has backed a practice forced to close its reception desk after abuse...