Canticle of the Rose

Joseph Phibbs – ‘The Canticle of the Rose’ and other works (NMC D191)

Includes: Two Songs from Shades of Night with Ben Alden, and The Moon’s Funeral with Michael Chance

Ben Alden (accompanied by Andrew Plant) has a sound and eloquence positively Peter Pears-ian… – Paul Driver, The Sunday Times
Uncertainty and fear course through the accompaniment, played with great skill and poetic nuance by pianist Andrew Plant … Mr Alden sings with poise and terrific diction … [Michael] Chance, one of the best countertenors in the world and one of the few for whom song repertory is utterly natural territory, sings with undiminished eloquence and beauty of tone … ably accompanied by [Andrew] Plant’s pianism. – Voix des Arts
The disc ends with something really special in the short song The Moon’s Funeral, the countertenor and piano feel like two facets of a single expressive entity, solemnly searching for a way to commune the extent of its heartbreak. – 5:4 Blog

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Antony Hopkins – a portrait (DDA 21217)

A double-CD in honour of the distinguished composer and broadcaster, including my miniature setting of Masaoki Shiki’s On How To Sing, performed by Lesley-Jane Rogers soprano, John Turner recorders and Janet Simpson piano

 

Andrew Plant’s jeu d’esprit…is a little gem…beautifully sung – MusicWeb International
Andrew Plant’s On How to Sing…disjunct and exploratory – Fanfare
…a delightfully entertaining anthology, vividly recorded – Gramophone
…the music written as a 90th birthday collection is, to a man, of no little distinction, demonstrating the esteem in which Hopkins is held by genuine musicians. A wonderful set. – Musical Opinion

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The NMC Songbook (NMC D150)

Four CDs of commissioned songs to celebrate NMC’s twentieth anniversary. They include first recordings of The Moon’s Funeral (Joseph Phibbs) and Haiku (Bláar Kindsdottir) sung by James Bowman; and Labyrinth to Light (Peter Maxwell Davies) sung by Andrew Swait, all three accompanied by Andrew Plant.

More information on YouTube

Best Contemporary Release, Classic FM / Gramophone Awards 2009
New material from first-time NMC composer Peter Maxwell Davies, whose setting of the anonymous nursery rhyme ‘Labyrinth to Light’ for treble (Andrew Swait) and piano (Andrew Plant) is like a slow extended shiver down the spine – The Journal of New Music
The collected performers are all highly accomplished and fulfil their assignments with impeccable musicianship and professionalism Classicstoday.com
The performances are uniformly superb – Guardian

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Songs of Innocence

Songs of Innocence (SIGCD128)

Songs of Innocence (Andrew Swait; James Bowman; Andrew Plant)
Recorded in autumn 2007, the CD comprises several rare works and arrangements by Britten, including première recordings of four early songs (preceding their first concert performances by these artists), together with music by Ives, Quilter, Warlock, Williamson and others.

Swait’s voice is clear, bright, and tuned with innate precision, ringing with carefree but studious childhood. Bowman, worldly and artistic … phrasing with a characteristic elegance and expressivity.  Andrew Plant accompanies with sensitivity Rick Jones, The Times
Swait is a treble of exceptional musicality … He brings to Britten’s ‘Diaphenia’ and ‘The Owl’ a winning mix of flight, fragility and innocence and to the folk-inspired traditional songs a gentle eloquence. Britten’s ‘The Rainbow’ finds him duetting happily with veteran countertenor James Bowman. Andrew Plant is the excellent pianist – Andrew Clark, Financial Times
Swait’s voice is the raison d’etre of this project … this disc catches its uniquely fresh and limpid timbre excellently. Material (mainly English) is carefully chosen to suit the treble voice and Swait’s clear diction and unaffected directness of communication are very striking.  A highly recommendable recital HMV Choice
For not a single moment are any parts of these songs forced or contrived.  There is a beauty about both the voices that almost defies description.  And of course, Andrew Plant makes a sensitive accompanist. Finally, there is nothing sentimental about this CD: this is not some choir-robed starlet singing popular tear-jerkers – this is well written and well presented music at its best MusicWeb International

TRACK LISTING

I wonder as I wander
Niles, arr. Britten
In the mornin’
Spiritual, arr. Ives
Diaphenia 
Britten (first recording)
The Owl 
Britten (first recording)
Witches’ Song 
Britten (first recording)
Chamber Music V (‘Goldenhair’)
Britten (first recording)
The Rainbow
Britten (from Three Two-part Songs)
The Oxen
Britten
Little Sir William 
Trad., arr. Britten
Cradle song 
Michael Berkeley
The bayly berith the bell away
Warlock
Tell me, lovely shepherd 
Boyce, arr. Poston
The Slow Train 
Flanders & Swann, arr. Andrew Plant
Ca’ the yowes 
Trad., arr. Britten
Silent worship 
Handel, arr. Jacobson
Who is Silvia? 
Wood
Caleno custure me 
Trad., arr. Andrew Plant
Dirge for Fidele 
Vaughan Williams
Summer sunset 
Quilter
Slow march 
Ives
Tom Bowling 
Dibdin, real. Britten
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Jeffreys
My bed is a boat
Williamson (from A Child’s Garden)
Sure on this shining night
Barber, op. 13, no. 3
Sweet and low 
Williamson (from Six English Lyrics)

Art Song Collection (SIGCD303)

Art Song Collection (Andrew Swait; Andrew Plant)

‘Diaphenia’ from Songs of Innocence is here re-released in a collection marking the fifteenth anniversary of Signum Records.  Together with ‘Witches’ Song and ‘The Owl’ it is also included on Decca’s boxed set of Britten’s Complete Works.

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BNOBN for website

By Night or By Noon (IAF–CD1)

Ian Ford was an alto in the Cambridgeshire Boys’ Choir and possessed a clear, rich voice that was allied to a remarkable technique and superb breath control.  This CD captures him in his prime and it was a great pleasure recording it with him.  It is remarkable that most of the disc was recorded in a single day, for which we owe much to our excellent recording engineer, Matthew Dilley.  The four tracks with organ (played by Fergus Black) were recorded a few weeks later on the sparkling Frobenius instrument in the chapel of Oundle School.  The CD includes some of Ian’s favourite pieces with a strong bias towards English music and more unusual repertoire: we were anxious to avoid producing yet another collection of over-familiar items.  It was a limited edition, produced primarily for friends but there are still some copies left, so do contact me if you would like to purchase one.

TRACK LISTING

An die Musik Schubert (D. 547)
Mondnacht Schumann (from Liederkreis, op. 39, no. 5)
Après un rêve Fauré (op. 7, no. 1)
My lady’s garden Trad. French, arr. Quilter (first recording)
Silent worship Handel, arr. Somervell
Marienwürmchen Trad., arr. Brahms (from Volks-Kinderlieder)
Foxgloves Head
O waly, waly Trad., arr. Britten
King David Howells
Mississippi Moon Wayman (from Huck Finn, first recording)
The Night Rubbra (op. 14, no. 1, first recording)
O rest in the Lord Mendelssohn (from Elijah)
Präludium Micheelsen (from Das Holsteinische Orgelbüchlein)
Three Motets Micheelsen (first recording)
In the mornin’ Spiritual, arr. Ives
This endris night Milford (Four Seasonable Songs, no. 4, first recording)
The Birds Britten
Corpus Christi carol Britten (from A Boy was Born, op. 3)
Christ, the children’s friend Cornelius (from Weinachtslieder, op. 8, no. 5)
Walking in the air Blake (from The Snowman)
A New Year Carol Britten (from Friday Afternoons)