Gary Higginson - Songs Of Innocence And Experience

Published Thursday 10th January 2013
Gary Higginson - Songs Of Innocence And Experience
Gary Higginson - Songs Of Innocence And Experience

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Regent REGCD381

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Gary Higginson was born in 1952 and although this is the first recording of any of his work he has had a busy career in music. On this debut recording we hear a varied selection of Higginson's vocal music, both sacred and secular, together with pieces for solo harp played by Danielle Perrett. Topping and tailing the disc are two sets of "Seven Songs Of William Blake". Some of these words will be familiar to all who enjoy contemporary choral music: "Little lamb who made thee?" and "Tyger, tyger" for example. Higginson has his own distinctive style and although we doubt whether these new settings will displace Sir John Tavener's from the repertoire we would be happy to hear them again. In "Six Birds" the composer takes some brief, haiku-like poems by Neil Curry and sets them for harp and girls' voices. These are tantalising, impressionistic and both unusual and memorable. My personal favourites are three songs from Shakespeare: "Ceres' Song" from The Tempest, and "Fairies' Song" and "Over Hill, Over Dale" from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Here the words and music fit perfectly and the soprano Charlotte de Rothschild brings them to life. "Lead Kindly Light" with Newman's words adapted by the composer is also worth hearing and any interested choir directors reading this review while on a search for new material could do worse than investigate this. The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge sing on this recording and under Sarah MacDonald they do it full justice. It is a privilege for this reviewer to be able to recommend a previously unheard composer to you. If your interests lie in contemporary classical music or you have a liking for William Blake then this is worth seeking out.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

Interested in reviewing music? Find out more here.

Be the first to comment on this article

We welcome your opinions but libellous and abusive comments are not allowed.

We are committed to protecting your privacy. By clicking 'Send comment' you consent to Cross Rhythms storing and processing your personal data. For more information about how we care for your data please see our privacy policy.