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Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, May 2015

Happily tenor Spence, who gets the lion’s share of this disc, has a light voice with good control and fine diction, and it is he who makes the most of the text within the context Hoddinott set it.

The Welsh folksong treatments are delightful… © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, April 2015

All the singers here do the composer proud, as do the accompanists. The recording is immediate and clear. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Adrian Edwards
Gramophone, March 2015

…Spence’s bright young tenor and crystal-clear diction rings out as clear as a bell. Landscapes…are compellingly projected. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Robert A. Moore
American Record Guide, March 2015

…Matthews-Owen is the star of the show. He handles Hoddinott’s filigree textures with delicacy, its declamatory thundering with authority. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, January 2015

Hoddinott’s 1982 settings of Six Welsh Folksongs in translations by his wife Rhiannon receive from Mr. Spence performances of wide-eyed wonder, his boyish tones giving the songs an alluring air of spontaneity. Both ‘Two Hearts Remain’ and ‘O Gentle Dove’ sparkle with uncomplicated feelings in which Mr. Spence revels. His singing of ‘If She Were Mine’ is movingly wistful, and ‘Ap Shenkin’ and ‘The Golden Wheat’ draw from both singer and pianist performances of compelling tenderness. Mr. Spence brings the picturesque spirit of a troubadour to his singing of ‘Fairest Gwen.’ He and Mr. Matthews-Owen reveal the astuteness of Hoddinott’s folksong settings, their performances confirming that these gems of Welsh lore deserve inclusion in the canon of the composer’s Art Songs. © 2015 Voix des Arts Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2014

Song cycles and folk songs from Alan Hoddinott, the composer who dominated classical music in his native Wales during the second half of the 20th century. Apart from a highly prolific output that included sixteen symphonies and six operas, he was the highly influential person that helped formulate the Royal Welsh College of Music for thirty-six years. For those coming to his vast output, I could best liken him to Hindemith in ploughing his own rather intractable furrow, particularly in his often extended symphonies. More readily approachable in his vocal music, the disc covers works spread over thirty years, the earliest, Landscapes from 1975, creating pictures of five places on the isle of Anglesey in Northern Wales. Six years later, and also for tenor, came the Six Welsh Folksongs that speak of love and heartbreak, Ap Shenkin being one of the best known British folk melodies. Ursula Vaughan Williams provided the text for The Silver Hound, a story of man’s journey through life in eight short songs, the score owing a debt to Benjamin Britten. Two Songs from Glamorgan and One Must Always Have Love date from the 1990’s, the second one cruelly taking the soprano on high. Two years before his death in 2008, and in a distinct move to modernity, Hoddinott wrote the Towy Landscape for soprano, baritone and piano duet. The tenor, Toby Spence, who sings through much of the disc, is quite superb; the soprano Claire Booth is hard pressed by the writing, while the pianist, Matthews-Owen, provides a wide dynamic participation in well-focused sound. © 2014 David’s Review Corner





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