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Poulenc & Wolf Songs

Sarah Fox, Malcolm Martineau, Thomas Oliemans, Lorna Anderson, Ann Murray, Robert Murray, John Mark Ainsley, Lisa Milne, Jonathan Lemalu; Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Signum SIGCD272 (Oxford, 2010)

Sophie Daneman, Anna Grevelius, James Gilchrist,
Stephan Loges (soloists); Sholto Kynoch (piano)

Stone 506019270083 (Oxford, 2010)

Two excellent compilations, both coincidentally recorded last year in Oxford, offering a fine conspectus of the best recitalists active in UK.

Poulenc's 150 songs offer an inexhaustible quarry for singers, and always go down well with audiences. Definitely a series of studio recordings to collect, one by one as they come out.

Full details at Signum's website, but Edward Greenfield is mixed up there, as Felicity Lott is not featured in this volume; but enjoy her at The Songmakers' Almanac [Helios: CDH55366].

The Wolf disc is devoted to his ever-popular Mörike songs, taken live at the Hollywell Music Room during the Oxford Lieder Festival.

It features, in turns throughout, four excellent singers who know this music well. We are provided with the essential texts, translated and with new notes by Richard Stokes. Good listening throughout, whether taken in order, or instead by selecting tracks by particular singers. I enjoyed especially checking out James Gilchrist's half dozen, including an exciting Huntsman and a scarifying Fire-rider, confiming his dramatic potential (noted in a terrific Schwanengesang at Temple Song earlier this month).

Both these sets are recorded and produced to high standards and together (they'd mix well !) should give many rewarding listening evenings.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also Wolf/Stone records review by Ann Ozorio

And see Poulenc Songs Vol 1 & Vol 2