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Royal Academy of Music Song Circle

Amanda Forbes
Fflur Wyn
Catherine Hopper
Julia Sporsen
Clara Mouriz
Michael McBride
Allan Clayton
Ronan Collett

James Ballieu
Wu Shen

RAM CD 301[76 mins]

Recorded at Duke's Hall in April 2006 and released quickly, this is a second showcase for London's RAM student singers, many of whom are already well placed on the professional ladder.

It is well produced, with an alluring Klimt image of Fulfilment to front the core repertoire of love songs from various countries. The general standard is undoubtedly high and some accounts of particular songs stand comparison with those recorded by well known professional singers.

There are some good juxtapositions of settings of the same text (Erlkonig and Die Lorelei) and I was greatly taken by Allan Clayton and JamesBallieu in my favourite of Britten's Canticles. Amanda Forbes is stretched in Strauss and the very personable Clara Mouriz tests the recording equipment to its limit in her welcome Turina selection.

It was not immediately clear until reading Richard Stokes afterwards that Schumann's In der Nacht was going to be a duet; his Ich bin geliebt rounded off the programme sung by a quartet of the class of 2006.

This CD will be obligatory mementos for those involved, but equally recommendable for those interested in keeping abreast of some of the UK's up and coming singers.

Presentation is thoughtful and fairly comprehensive, but editorial thought might usefully be given to more listener-friendly pagination in future releases of what appears to be an annual series? To keep abreast of the roster of singers one needs to turn from the track list on the back to the listing of singers and pianists on the second inside page, then to Richard Stokes' notes on the following pages, and lastly to the biographies and CVs at the back. For ordinary record collectors, who should not be discouraged, the latter are over-inclusive, but it is appreciated that a key purpose of these CDs is to showcase the performers.

Peter Grahame Woolf