Hammock go massive as they meditate on grand themes of death and loss, their music ever larger, more expansive. Every song a mountaintop vista with a clear view to the horizon, unencumbered by clouds, in all directions. Departure Songs demands that it be played loudly so that the details in each track can breathe, whether it is the androgynous, falsetto vocals of Marc Byrd or the angelic voice of Christine Glass Byrd or just a little bit of guitar in the background, this record is nuanced in a most compelling fashion. The arrangements beg to be picked apart - soaring guitars, propulsive bass, and hypnotic strings. The vocals work wonderfully as an instrument, but when the words finally become understandable, they cause shivers.
If you thought that Chris Rea's reasonably priced 11 CD boxset called Blue Guitars, featuring over 130 songs, was a bit too much to take in at one time, then this two CD distillation might be more your style. Here, the best 22 tracks from the box are compiled on two CDs for your sampling pleasure. Includes 'Where the Blues Come From', 'The Soul of My Father's Shadow', 'Lucky Day', 'Who Killed Love' and more.
Václav Jan Krvtitel Tomásek wrote numerous songs and short piano pieces, genres in which his works predate those of his rather more famous near contemporary Franz Schubert by some years. Quite why they are so neglected today is a mystery as this enthralling new album from Renata Pokupic' and Roger Vignoles unfolds twenty-eight songs of a rare appeal. Perhaps we should not be surprised: Tomáek was one of the very few composers of Goethe settings to meet with the great poet's (relatively) undivided approval.
Here is a side of Handel unfamiliar even to those knowledgeable about his music. Most of this CD is devoted to miscellaneous songs in English‚ many of them published in his time on song sheets‚ or in journals‚ or given to friends‚ or intended for use in the theatre. They are‚ generally‚ in a more popular vein than his familiar music‚ and often in the style used by such composers as Arne or Boyce‚ or lesser men‚ in their English songs. The best of them‚ to my taste‚ are the theatre songs: ‘I like the amorous youth’ is a specially charming piece‚ and ‘Love’s but the frailty of the mind’‚ a Congreve setting made for the admired actresssinger Kitty Clive‚ is an exquisite and touching little song‚ especially when sung as beautifully as it is here by Emma Kirkby.