FLOWERS of the FIELD
Butterworth, A Shropshire Lad – Rhapsody, Finzi: Requiem da Camera – World Premiere, Gurney: The Trumpet, Vaughan Williams: An Oxford Elegy.
Roderick Williams, Jeremy Irons (narrator), City of London Choir, London Mozart Players, Hilary Davan Wetton.
Naxos 8573426 @ £7.50 plus P&P
Financial Times “To mark Remembrance Day this disc collects works by English composers affected by the first world war. Unlike their compatriot poets, the composers responded with uniformly elegiac feelings.”
BBC Music Magazine “this is an unusual and moving programme…[Finzi’s] Masefield and Hardy settings, less mature than Dies Natalis, remained unperformed in his lifetime, but Davan Wetton and excellent soloists Roderick Williams find real depth in them…An Oxford Elegy, though, is the major work here.”
The Guardian “this version [of the Requiem da Camera], intelligently paced by Hilary Davan Wetton with Roderick Williams as the matchless baritone soloist, is a significant addition to the Finzi catalogue…it’s the Finzi especially that makes the disc so worthwhile.”
These composers were all affected by the carnage of World War I, and their elegiac music expresses regret and lost innocence, love won and lost, sacrifice and death. George Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad, conceived as an epilogue to his Housman song cycles, encapsulates the poet’s sense of life’s transience. Ivor Gurney was both shot and gassed in 1917, and The Trumpet pleads with mankind to set aside the folly of war. Heard here in a new completion, Gerald Finzi’s Requiem da Camera mourns the death of his mentor Ernest Farrar and those of other fallen artists, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s An Oxford Elegy recalls lost friends with an intense and magical nostalgia.