Album Review

Posted: Monday 11th August 1997
Share this:

Songs of Farewell – The Singer

A made-in-heaven pairing of two 20th century masterpieces – the Mass in G Minor and the Songs of Farewell – separated by an intriguing, rarely heard Bridge work which seams like a dream into the following Parry – all represent substantial challenges – many an amateur choir must have tackled the Vaughan Williams and the Parry unwarily, and come unstuck.

The Vasari Singers offer good performances, well into the mood of each work, with warm legato sound. The slightly too distant recording tends to show up a lack of vowel clarity and the solo quartet in the Mass is a little unsteady at times. Both of the main works make severe demands in terms of tuning, especially the Parry and, perhaps inevitably, there are a few shortcomings. It remains a more than welcome release.

The Songs of farewell, containing some of Parry’s greatest music, provide an extraordinary spiritual and emotional journey, drawing the listener ever closer, gently asserting their mood of leavetaking. I am not sure there is yet an ideal recording, such is the mountain to be climbed. Richard Marlow and his Trinity College, Cambridge choir are immaculate and beautifully paced, but lacking the last few ounces of emotional depth. Buy their version and the Vasari’s, then mix in the head.

Andrew Green
The Singer