• The programme performed here by baritone Christopher Maltman and pianist Joseph Middleton was born whilst Maltman was studying at the Royal Academy of Music. The compositions have been selected to form a coherent but flexible narrative that produces a touching memoire to all those affected by war. One composer chosen for the record, George Butterworth, was a casualty of the First World War: in September 1915 he went to the trenches and was killed, aged 31, in the Battle of the Somme on 5th August 1916. The use of his composition, A Shropshire Lad, is touching in this instance. It gives the listener a more sensitive perspective of the loss in World War One, almost allowing the listener to see the faces of those who passed away, most of whom were young ‘lads’ from various parts of the country.
  • The Goossens Messiah, recorded for the first and only time by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus under Sir Thomas Beecham, has stood as a landmark of the classical catalogue for sixty years. Goossens’ richly orchestrated version is set to reach a new audience thanks to Maestro Griffith and DCINY, New York City’s leading promoter of classical music. They gathered at Abbey Road Studios in London in July 2019, to record the work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a chorus comprising of sixty members of The Jonathan Griffith Singers, drawn from around the world and sixty members of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. The new recording has captured the score’s vibrant tone colours in thrilling high-definition sound. An acclaimed conductor, educator and lecturer, Dr. Jonathan Griffith has led performances across North America, Europe, and Asia. Griffith is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), which has brought together, under Griffith’s artistic leadership, thousands of musicians and choral singers in concert at prestigious venues across the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Disney Hall. The founder and Music Director of the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra, Griffith also oversees DCINY’s mentoring program for conductors.   Founded in 1983 as a single choir of 100 of the best singers in the nation, the National Youth Choir is now the flagship ensemble of an Arts Council England National Portfolio youth music organisation and registered charity, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain (NYCGB), which runs five membership choirs, a nationwide outreach programme for schools and Music Hubs, and provides professional training for the next generation of choral singers, composers and leaders.
  • After the success of their debut disc, ‘Voyages’, Mary Bevan and Joseph Middleton present their second recital disc exploring Lieder in German and Italian by Schubert, Haydn and Wolf. The programme is woven around songs inspired by the ‘muses’ of the day, both mythological and divine. It begins with Schubert’s dramatic and reverential settings of sacred German poetry, set alongside his lush emotional portrayals of female characters in the Italian settings. The central section of the disc is then devoted to Haydn’s epic ‘scena’ depicting the famously cruel abandonment of Arianna by her lover Teseo, ‘Arianna a Naxos’. Haydn’s beautiful prayer ‘Geistliches Lied’ takes us back into the world of German poetry and the religious fervour that arose from the collective belief in Christianity which pervaded most art forms of the age. The disc then moves into works by Hugo Wolf, whose stunning settings of devotional texts take the listener right to the heart of the characters; a few of these songs were in fact inspired by paintings. The early moments of Jesus Christ’s life are vividly portrayed here, particularly in songs such as ‘Die ihr Schwebet’, ‘Auf ein Altes Bild’ and ‘Schlafendes Jesuskind’, while the haunting ‘Gesang Weylas’ invites the listener into the world of the mysterious goddes Weyla who wistfully dreams of the shores of her distant homeland. From Ganymed to Christ, Dido to the Virgin Mary, Arianna to St Peter, this recital disc richly illustrates the lives and events surrounding the ‘divine muses’ who inspired these composers.