United Kingdom Oxford Lieder Pageant 2022  – Gurney, Rebecca Clarke, Ian Venables, Finzi: Nick Pritchard (tenor), Ian Tindale (piano). New School Chapel, Oxford 21.10.2022. (CR)
Gurney – 5 Elizabethan Songs
Rebecca Clarke – Down by the Salley Gardens; The Seal Man; God made a tree
Ian Venables – A Kiss, Op.15; Ache, Op.10; Flying Crooked, Op.28 No.1
Finzi – Oh Honest to See, Op.13b
On this late-night recital Nick Pritchard sang a bunch of songs whose usually mild and melancholy tinged character suited the subdued atmosphere of the antechapel of New School in nocturnal hush. Even the three objects by modern composer Ian Venables fitted in nicely with the others, all usually written within the modal, folksong-inflected idiom of the primary a part of the 20th century that was one English reply to different types of musical Modernism elsewhere.
Every group of songs was nicely honed by Pritchard and Ian Tindale, having been carried out by them on numerous events beforehand, and all right here sung by the previous from reminiscence. His clear, actually projected singing matched the often-guileless innocence and attraction of the phrases set, notably in Gurney’s sequence of 5 Elizabethan songs, enabling explicit phrases or phrases to be emphasised with heat or wider vibrato, or deeper expressivity as event required. The timeless, easy high quality of Rebecca Clarke’s setting of ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’, like a folksong, rightly obtained a easily sustained efficiency, while Venables’s Ache, to phrases by Gurney, was efficient additionally for not artificially underlining the tortured phrases and concepts expressed however expounded with unaffected eloquence.
Pritchard maintained an identical easeful supply in Finzi’s cycle Oh Honest to See however imbued with a contact of remorse or solemnity to differentiate the composer’s subtle setting of phrases from mere artlessness. Tindale’s assist was sympathetic and alert, bringing life and color to those well-crafted items, and including its personal commentary to the texts.