The English Songbook is the debut album from Adrian Green, Tenor, Producer, Director and Founder of Convivium Records and the Convivium Singers.
Youth, Love & Loss –
The English Art Song
In 1888, Parry described the condition of English song writing as a ‘Slough of Musical Despond such as can rarely have been provided by any nation under heaven.’ There certainly must have been recognition by leading British composers of the late Victorian era that where Germany and France both had established song composers, England had yet to follow suit. It is also important to note that there was an increasing demand for songs in England at this time. From 1851-1901, the population of England doubled and with pianos becoming increasingly affordable, there was a demand for repertoire, from amateur and more advanced musicians, who wished to entertain with poetry and song.
So it was that from around the 1880’s the English Art Song was born. Amongst the earliest to lay the groundwork other than Parry were Stanford, Elgar and Delius. For inspiration, they looked not only at the music of their foreign counterparts, but also at the universally popular themes of youth, love and loss in changing times. And times were uncertain through the Twentieth Century. Both the ideals and realities of these great themes play out in this selection of songs.
Tenor: Adrian Green
Accompanist: Noel Skinner
Sound Engineering: Kevin Hodgson
Editing & Mastering: Adaq Khan
Album Photography: Tom Kuglin
Recorded at the Parish Church of St Michael (Highgate), 15-17 August 2012
Producers: Andrew King, Alexander Norman
Executive Creative Director: John Bevan
Executive Producers: Alexander Norman & Andrew King
On This Disc
01 Is She Not Passing Fair? Edward Elgar (2:55)
02 The East Riding John Ireland (1:48)
03 A Sea Burthen Michael Head (3:38)
04 The Sea-Bird Roger Quilter (2:14)
05 A Kingdom By The Sea Arthur Somervell (3:42)
06 Orpheus With His Lute Ralph Vaughan Williams (3:02)
07 The Bayly Berith the Bell Away Peter Warlock
08 The Salley Gardens Benjamin Britten (3:04)
09 The Green Hills O’Somerset Eric Coates (2:59)
10 Go, Lovely Rose Roger Quilter (3:20)
11 Silent Noon Ralph Vaughan Williams (4:24)
12 The Sigh Gerald Finzi (3:17)
13 Sleep Ivor Gurney (3:11)
14 Early One Morning Percy Grainger (3:01)
15 Bredon Hill George Butterworth (4:49)
16 In Dreams Will Drakett (3:32)
17 Youth and Love Malcolm Archer (2:50)
18 When I am Dead, My Dearest Adrian Green (2:50)
total running time: 57 minutes
A music graduate of Royal Holloway, University of London and recipient of the Dame Felicity Lott Bursary, Adrian is Director of Convivium Records and Convivium Singers. Whilst Convivium Records has worked recently for a number of high profi le clients including The Baltic Exchange, London, and The Royal School of Church Music, Convivium Singers have worked with many notable composers and conductors, and performed at a number of international choral festivals. They have been recommended on BBC Radio 3’s ‘CD Review’ as ‘an extraordinarily good choir to listen to’, with reference to their recording of Jonathan Dove’s choral music available on NAXOS. Recent guest conductors of the group have included Neil Ferris, David Price, Malcolm Archer, and Eamonn Dougan.
Adrian has been a member of Portsmouth Cathedral Choir and administrated their Chorister Outreach Programme since 2008, taking a teaching role that he continues with funding from the Diocese of Portsmouth. Alongside this, he is a vocal coach at Portsmouth Grammar School and St James Senior Boys’ School (London). He performs regularly as a soloist with various choirs across the country and Europe, as well as giving solo recitals and occasional workshops. Adrian currently studies with Andrew King.
Noel Skinner won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music and studied with Leslie England and the accompanist Rex Stephens; during his studentship he won many prizes, including the Harold Samuel Bach Prize and the McFarren Prize (at that time the highest award for Piano). He has appeared at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St John’s Smith Square and in several recitals at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, both as a soloist and in chamber music. He has wide experience as an accompanist, operatic repetiteur and teacher.