Magazine article Opera Canada

Stanford

Magazine article Opera Canada

Stanford

Article excerpt

STANFORD

Gerald Finley

BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales

Richard Hickox, conductor

Chandos CHSA 5043

Britain wasn't a hotbed for opera around the turn of the last century, but there's much high drama in the country's great choral tradition, as witness this compilation of large-scale pieces for voice and orchestra by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. Songs of the Sea (Op. 91), The Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet (Op. 24) and Songs of the Fleet (Op. 117) arc from the glory days of empire, when Britannia ruled the waves, and celebrate the grand traditions and contemporary power of the nation's Senior Service. But this colorful and evocative music is not all pomp and circumstance. While some of the poems, by Henry Newbolt and Tennyson, do evoke great men and deeds, others reflect subtly on the psyche of sailors and their relationship with the sea. Stanford was clearly inspired by this material, and wrote music that is astonishing in its breadth of color, mood and melodic invention. …

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