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Choral Music - VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, R. / FINZI, G. / GURNEY, I. (Flowers of the Field) (City of London Choir, London Mozart Players, Wetton)


Naxos 8.573426

   Fanfare, May 2015
   All Classical Portland, April 2015
   American Record Guide, March 2015
   International Record Review, January 2015
   Gramophone, January 2015
   Choir & Organ, January 2015
   BBC Music Magazine, January 2015
   Sinfini Music, December 2014
   Cinemusical, December 2014
   Voix des Arts, December 2014
   Infodad.com, November 2014
   Sunday Telegraph, November 2014
   Mail on Sunday, November 2014
   The Times (London), November 2014
   Financial Times, November 2014
   David's Review Corner, November 2014
   The Guardian, October 2014

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James Forrest
Fanfare, May 2015

The Trumpet is a stirring piece of slightly under six minutes duration. Superbly realized by Philip Lancaster, it is a high point of this disc.

The performances are certainly sufficiently good to provide pleasure. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



John Pitman
All Classical Portland, April 2015

There is an elegiac quality to the music, naturally, and these composers, who were all touched by the war in different ways, respond in their own voices. There are moments of wistfulness, the loss of innocence, and even anger. But you’ll also find in this music a sense of hope. The stories told here are not unique to events of a century ago, but resonate with the experiences of our own time. © 2015 All Classical Portland Read complete review



Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, March 2015

This is said to be the first-ever recording of The Trumpet and I’m pleased to have heard it. There’s good Finzi too…and I admire baritone Roderick Williams, who sings the music about as well as it’s possible to sing it. In the end, all…come off well and serve nicely as tributes to the fallen of Britain and the world. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Piers Burton-Page
International Record Review, January 2015

Hilary Davan Wetton and the London Mozart Players turn in a nicely deft performance. © 2015 International Record Review



Alexandra Coghlan
Gramophone, January 2015

Jeremy Irons makes an understated reader for An Oxford Elegy, offering a more matter–of–fact, contemporary take than we’re used to in the more Victorian moments of Matthew Arnold’s verse. He is deftly supported by the London Mozart Players, whose wind solos throughout the disc are especially fine. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Brian Morton
Choir & Organ, January 2015

The subject is war and the pity of war. Two of the pieces—Ivor Gurney’s The Trumpet and Gerald Finzi’s torso Requiem da camera—are premiere recordings, sensibly placed between George Butterworth’s orchestral tail-piece A Shropshire Lad and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s An Oxford Elegy, that glorious remembrance of departed youth and promise. Roderick Williams sings richly and with calm authority in the keystone movement of the Finzi Requiem da Camera, and the City of London Choir brings a timeless quality to the same piece and to the Elegy. [Jeremy Irons’s] voice is in period and his diction is flawless on the Matthew Arnold text. The poetry is in the music. © 2015 Choir & Organ




Michael Scott Rohan
BBC Music Magazine, January 2015

…this is an unusual and moving programme. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine




Gavin Dixon
Sinfini Music, December 2014

[In] Finzi’s Requiem da Camera…Roderick Williams is in fine voice, his tone rich but unforced and his pronunciation admirably clear.

Choir and orchestra are excellent throughout the programme, technically precise and warm of tone. An inventive and original memorial…to commemorate WWI’s centenary, performed with sensitivity and without undue restraint. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review




Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, December 2014

Hilary Davan Wetton serves these works very well. The imaging of the chorus works fairly well…The orchestra is beautifully captured. Overall, this is a fabulous collection of English music with a standout performance of the Butterworth and Vaughan Williams, and the wonderful Finzi discovery making this a very sweet discovery. © 2014 Cinemusical Read complete review



Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, December 2014

Under the insightfully-wielded baton of Hilary Davan Wetton, the London Mozart Players give a subtle, sonorous account of George Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad—Rhapsody for Orchestra. The climax to which the music builds is achieved by Maestro Wetton with perfect control of thematic development. The incandescent performance by the London Mozart Players and Maestro Wetton is a fitting tribute to the composer…

[In] Ralph Vaughan Williams’s An Oxford Elegy…the choristers, orchestra, and Maestro Wetton perform the music incisively, creating the impression that they are directly experiencing the incomprehensible losses of WWI rather than singing about them a century later.

This disc and the sincere, heartfelt performances that it preserves rekindle the hope that every tear shed for the victims of WWI indeed gave life to flowers of the field. © 2014 Voix des Arts Read complete review



Infodad.com, November 2014

The spirituality of the four works on a Naxos CD called Flowers of the Field is tied not to a time of celebration or peace but to the opposite: a time of terror and war. All four are, in part or whole, composers’ reactions to World War I, and all reach out far beyond those directly affected by the war and its depredations to everyone who has experienced loss in wartime, and by extension to all who have known loss in any form and under any circumstances. The moving extension in which mourning for individuals becomes something of greater scope is especially clear in Vaughan Williams’ An Oxford Elegy… [The work] is far from typical for Vaughan Williams, its pervasive melancholy and nostalgia recalling the composer’s lost friends and resolving only at the end toward a sort of resignation that seems to stop somewhere short of full acceptance. Movingly performed under the direction of Hilary Davan Wetton, it crowns a disc that also includes music by lesser composers who, in the case of these specific works, express themselves with equal intensity. Also here is Requiem da Camera by Gerald Finzi…An expansive and emotive piece, Finzi’s reaches out beyond individual artists to mourn the destruction, by implication, of art itself, and thus of the uplift that it can provide. The sensitivity of the music is well-communicated here, and the performers make the entire CD into a very moving experience. © 2014 Infodad.com Read complete review



John Allison
Sunday Telegraph, November 2014

Finzi’s haunting music may have been out of step with the prevailing modern aesthetic in the years after his death, but in our more pluralist times it has proved itself ripe for appreciative rediscovery.

The new recording is an important addition to the Finzi discography, proving the composer right in his belief that “a song outlasts a dynasty”. © 2014 Sunday Telegraph




David Mellor
Mail on Sunday, November 2014

Hilary Davan Wetton is surely our finest choral conductor…

…a beautifully refined and sympathetically chosen album. © 2014 Mail on Sunday




Geoff Brown
The Times (London), November 2014

British music entirely fills Naxos’ Flowers of the Field skilfully delivered by the City of London Choir and London Mozart Players conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton. …the album earns a place in the sun for its first recording of Gerald Finzi’s sorrowing Requiem da Camera, a fascinating early work form the Twenties touched with Finzi’s special magic. © 2014 The Times




Richard Fairman
Financial Times, November 2014

The rhapsody “A Shropshire Lad” by George Butterworth…is the strongest. Vaughan Williams’s “An Oxford Elegy” to a Matthew Arnold text grandly declaimed by actor Jeremy Irons recalls fondly remembered landscapes. © 2014 Financial Times



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2014

‘Flowers of the Field’ is part of the centenary of remembrance for all those who gave their lives in the 1914–18 war, including the death of George Butterworth. What would have flowered from the young Butterworth had he lived, we shall never know, A Shropshire Lad being one of the most beautiful scores ever to come from a British composer, its delicacy seeming to encapsulate the English countryside. Yet in its brief climatic passage there was an unease that became true for Butterworth the year after its composition with his death. Too young to be enlisted, the shy young Gerald Finzi was dragged into the conflict when his mentor, Ernest Farrar, was killed in action. He mentally never recovered from that loss, and he was to write a Requiem da Camara in his memory, though seemingly he was unable to finish it. What he left was edited and completed by Christian Alexander two years ago, and now receives its first recorded performance. Not a requiem in the sacred traditions, but a series of four songs on the subject of death, the third given to a baritone solo here sung by Roderick Williams. For Ivor Gurney his experiences on the front line not only scared him physically, but for the last fifteen years of his short life he was held in a mental asylum. In the choral work, The Trumpet, here orchestrated by Philip Lancaster, Gurney sets out the folly of war. Though 42 when the conflict broke out, Vaughan Williams volunteered and served in the army. His Oxford Elegy, has no real connection with the war, but is a setting of poems by Matthew Arnold relating to the scholar who went to join the gypsies to learn their arts, but never returned. For speaker, chorus and orchestra, it is an extended score. In total this is a superb disc, the performances and recording all equally excellent. © 2014 © 2014 David’s Review Corner




Andrew Clements
The Guardian, October 2014

…it’s the Finzi especially that makes the disc so worthwhile. © 2014 The Guardian Read complete review





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