Britten: Songs And Proverbs Volume 22 (Naxos: 8.572600) (Roderick Williams/ Iain Burnside) (Naxos: 8.572600)
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Britten wrote his Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, Op. 74 for the German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in 1965. The singer admired the 'concentration and enigmatic smile' of the settings, and Britten constructed, through alternation of proverbs with songs, and an intense contemplation on the human and the eternal, one of his greatest song cycles. By contrast Tit for Tat sees Britten revisiting youthful, light-spirited settings of the poet Walter de la Mare. The folk-song arrangements are amongst his most famous, and beloved.
Britten's song cycles are some of the greatest produced in the twentieth century. This disc focuses on his Blake cycle, one of his deepest and most contemplative. It's contrasted with a very different and youthful cycle of five called Tit for Tat, written when he was a teenager.
The baritone Roderick Williams encompasses a wide repertoire, from baroque to contemporary music, in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital. His recital appearances have taken him to London's Wigmore Hall and many European festivals. He has an extensive discography and his recordings of English song with Iain Burnside have received particular acclaim.