Peripheral Visions

New British Music for Voice & Piano

Alison Smart (soprano) & Katharine Durran (piano

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"A typically adventurous collection of contemporary British song" 

The Times


"…the impressive soprano Alison Smart…" 

The Sunday Times


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George Nicholson's pithy set of miniatures, Peripheral Visions, inspires the title for this wide-ranging collection. Bringing together four diverse texts, by Swift, Lewis Carroll, an anonymous French writer and D.B.Wyndham Lewis respectively, each song has its own dry humour and hard-hitting musical setting.

James MacMillan is arguably the most important younger composer working in Scotland today. His phenomenally economical settings of three poems by William Soutar are profoundly moving and dramatic, highly charged miniatures which are emotionally exhausting for both performers and listeners!

Judith Weir, also Scottish by birth, is represented by a virtuosic set of five folk tales, Scotch Minstrelsy. They are full of colour and detail, with echoes of Schubert and a wonderful narrative flow.

Scottish by adoption, in that he made his home on the Orkney island of Hoy, Peter Maxwell Davies wrote the music for The Yellow Cake Review in 1980 in protest at the threat of uranium mining in the Orkneys. The two piano interludes performed here, Farewell to Stromness and Yesnaby Ground, are hauntingly lyrical.

Elizabeth Maconchy composed Sun, Moon and Stars, to words by the English mystic Thomas Traherne, in 1976. Her daughter, Nicola LeFanu, had written But Stars Remaining (to a text by C. Day Lewis) six years previously, and it is fascinating to contrast her uncompromising, unaccompanied vocal writing with the well-known impressionistic style of her mother.

Gabriel Jackson is renowned for his ability to create searing emotional effects from seemingly minimal ingredients. Liadan Laments is no exception, setting heartbreaking Irish Seventh Century words to mesmeric and gripping music.

Robin Holloway's Wherever We May Be, five lovesongs to poems of Robert Graves, alternate the lyrical with the vehement in highly integrated vocal and piano writing.

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Alison Smart

Katharine Durran

at divine art
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BBC Singer ALISON SMART specialises in the performance of new vocal repertoire, although she is also very much in demand as an oratorio soloist.

This disc is a must for those interested in new vocal repertory.