Stanford: Songs Of Faith, Love, & Nonsense (CD)
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SOMM RECORDINGS announces a major new recording of songs by Charles Villiers Stanford including the first complete recording of Songs of Faith and 12 first recordings of other distinctively vital songs. Songs of Love, Faith and Nonsense continues SOMM’s widely acclaimed commitment to Stanford’s music with baritone Roderick Williams, tenor James Way (making his SOMM debut) and pianist Andrew West throwing revealing new light on his gift for word setting and the variety of his responses to matters of emotional ardor, spiritual fervency and the sublime nonsense poems of Edward Lear. Setting poems by Tennyson and Walt Whitman, Songs of Faith demonstrates Stanford’s ability to give unique expression to the profound and the arcane with music of dramatic force and harmonic ingenuity. Three songs by Robert Bridges (librettist for Stanford’s oratorio Eden) and four songs from the opera Shamus O’Brien tap into Stanford’s Irish roots to colorful and evocative effect. Composed to mark his 25th wedding anniversary and receiving its first recording, The Triumph of Love sets five sonnets by his close cousin, Edmond Gore Alexander Holmes, in richly executed settings. The delightful Nonsense Rhymes taken from Edward Lear’s inimitably playful, poignant and pointed limericks show a different side to Stanford, a “highly articulate, dry humor like many literary Irishmen of his era”, as Jeremy Dibble says in his authoritative booklet notes.