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Britten, Finzi & Delius Orchestral Songs

Britten Quatre Chansons Françaises; Les illuminations, Op. 18
Delius: A Late Lark
Finzi: Dies natalis, Op. 8

Susan Gritton (soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner

Chandos CHAN10590

Finzi's Dies natalis is one of his best loved works, purporting to reflect the joy and wonder of a newborn child’s firt encounters with the world. It is poetic and sentimental, and many years ago I used to love it. Now I'm not so sure.

Britten’s very early Quatre Chansons françaises, only come to light latterly, are remarkable in their mature compositional skills displayed at fourteen, and his song cycle Les Illuminations, to sometimes incomprehensible symbolist words by Rimbaud sounds good.

This well sung and accompanied disc of English orchestral song has one unavoidable limitation; the high soprano words are mostly unintelligible. Probably Elsie Suddaby and Sophie Wyss did no better on that score.This brings into question the valididy of the whole genre? Chandos does the right thing and supplies all the poems in a well produced booklet.

Peter Grahame Woolf