Magazine article Opera Canada

To a Poet: Music by Finzi, Britten, Butterworth, Ireland Chanler

Magazine article Opera Canada

To a Poet: Music by Finzi, Britten, Butterworth, Ireland Chanler

Article excerpt

TO A POET Music by Finzi, Britten, Butterworth, Ireland, Chanler Brett Polegato, baritone, & Iain Burnside, piano. CBC Records MVCD 1134 ****

The concept of this remarkable recording is built around the poetry of three near-contemporary English poets--Thomas Hardy (1846-1928), A. E. Housman (1859-1936) and Walter de la Mare (1873-1956)--as set to music by a group of English and American composers. The question of what comes first, the words or the music, is here answered with the weight thrown to the words. Yet although the three poets seem to share a vision of both the beauty of nature and man's life and also their evanescence, the songs themselves seem sharply individualized in terms of musical approach and word-setting.

The immensely gifted young baritone Brett Polegato seems ideally suited to these songs because of his extraordinarily clear and yet unaffected diction. I put him to the toughest test imaginable: the first time through, I listened to the CD without referring to the accompanying printed texts. I would say that almost without exception, I caught every word--not only pronounced, but poetically uttered, with a weighting of syllables, an inflection of consonants and a purity of vowels that made the poems almost tactile. …

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