, January 2009
First issued on the Collins Classical label, this Naxos issue offers a well-chosen selection, characterfully performed to bring out the contrasting flavours, vigorous on the one hand, evocative on the other. It is good to have his masterpiece, The Curlew, an extended setting of Yeats, as the main item, even if Adrian Thompson has moments of roughness, which are exaggerated by close recorded balance. Although the instrumental accompaniment is beautifully played, there too, the closeness prevents the full atmospheric beauty of the writing from being appreciated. Thompson is more successful in songs that require less sustained lines, and similar reservations have to be made about the singing of Christopher Maltman in the baritone songs, though he is rousingly convincing in such characteristic items as Fancy, Mr Belloc’s fancy and (best known of all Captain Stratton’s fancy.