Album Review

Posted: Tuesday 11th November 1997
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Songs of Farewell – American Record Guide

This disc contains some of the finest British choral works of their time by composers whose work is rarely programmed together. Sir Hubert Parry’s Songs of Farewell were composed around 1915-16 near the end of his life (he died in 1918 at the age of 70). Frank Bridge’s Prayer, also from 1916, remains his only major choral work. Ralph Vaughan William’s Mass in G minor was first performed in 1922. Naturally, works composed within five years of each other share some similarities. Parry clearly belongs to an earlier generation but was for a time Vaughan William’s teacher at the Royal College of Music in London. The Vasari Singers are very fine. I hear little difficulty with intonation, and they listen to each other very well. Jeremy Backhouse deserves credit for leading the ensemble with such sensitivity and conviction. Jeremy Filsell offers dramatic and eloquent support on the organ. The sound is very beautiful if a little diffuse: I sometimes had trouble catching the words. Texts are supplied.

David Reynolds
American Record Guide