Classical reviews

Lilburn; Complete Piano Works Vol.3. Dan Poynton (piano). Trust Records CD.

The third volume in a series started in 2005 has been released by the HRL Morrison Music Trust, Wellington, with Poynton continuing to show his fine rapport with the music of Douglas Lilburn, regarded as our pre-eminent New Zealand composer.

This disc features the Chaconne (1946) which has a resonant 16-bar theme and 31 variations in its 24-minute performance. It explores the West Coast landscape's grandeur and Lilburn's emotional reactions.

Other works are: Six Pieces (1964), Three Preludes (1943), Fred's Birthday (1965), Rondino for a Birthday (c.1943), Sonata in F Sharp Minor (1939), Poco Lento (1960), The Young Pine Tree (1945), Hommage a D.A.F. (c.1965), Theme from 'Variations on a Theme by Douglas Lilburn' (1948) and Christmas 1942. Many are first recordings.

Highlights: Chaconne's exciting sounds.

O Solitude. Andreas Scholl (countertenor); Accademia Bizantina. Decca CD.

German countertenor Scholl records some baroque musical treasures, songs and arias by English composer Henry Purcell.

Included is the poignant lament "When I am laid in earth" from Dido and Aeneas, that gets a haunting interpretation.

The 17 tracks include two excellent duets with French countertenor Christophe Dumaux, the Cold Song ("What power art thou") from King Arthur and some orchestral pieces (conductor Stefano Montanari.) Items included were written for the stage, church and private chamber recitals.

Scholl is heard in good voice, famously unworldly tone in clear sound. Yet I felt deliveries to be slightly clinical, lacking the golden warmth I used to hear from Alfred Deller rejoicing in Handel's songs for the soaring voice.

Highlight: O Dive Custos, duet elegy on the death of Queen Mary.


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