A Poet’s Echo
Jocelyn Freeman writes: Initially inspired by the prophetic nature of Shostakovich’s ‘Four Pushkin Romances Op 46’, I struck by the profundity of how the poetry echoed messages of censorship and exile forward through time and also by similarities to the cello sonata from two year prior. These two works are partnered on our disc by Prokofiev’s ‘Three Pushkin Romances’ and Britten’s ‘The Poet’s Echo’, premiered by soprano Galina Visnevskaya and cellist and pianist Mstislav Rostropovich, a dedicatee of a several cello works by the aforementioned composers.
Gemma Summerfield (soprano), Gareth Brynmor-John (baritone), Abi Hyde-Smith, Jocelyn Freeman (piano)
The Poet’s Echo – Joceyln Freeman | Rubicon Classics
Release date: 31 March 2023
Stanford Children’s Songs
SOMM Recordings continues its widely acclaimed championing of the music of Charles Villiers Stanford with a captivating collection of his Children’s Songs by mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately and baritone Gareth Brynmor John, accompanied by pianist Susie Allan. Including numerous first recordings and the first complete CD release of his setting of 14-year-old Helen Douglas Adam’s enchanting Songs from the Elfin Pedlar, it throws revealing new light on an important but largely overlooked aspect of Stanford’s output.
Charles Villiers Stanford: Children’s Songs | SOMM Recordings (somm-recordings.com)
The Children’s Hour
Acclaimed baritone Gareth Brynmor John and prize-winning pianist William Vann celebrate the wonder of childhood with a new recording of Fairy Tales, Adventures, Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies. Dedicated to their respective children, the recording takes its name from Charles Ives’s charming setting of Henry Longfellow’s poem, The Children’s Hour. Gareth Brynmor John comments: ‘Each of us has two young children, and the patter (or, perhaps, stomping) of tiny feet is now part of the soundscape (cacophony) of our everyday lives. Our programme weaves a tapestry of childhood experience: some tales stray towards the dark and nightmarish, even going as far as death, many are deeply comic, and others are charming or immensely profound. All of them, though, contemplate the wonder of childhood that continues to nourish us as adults, either through direct experience or via our memories.’ This release marks William Vann’s second disc for Champs Hill, and he is delighted to return to a label of which he is very fond.
Available from: https://www.champshillrecords.co.uk/703/The-Childrens-Hour
“A beautifully thought out and finely crafted recital” ***** Robert Hugill
“Lovingly curated and performed, this is a warmly recommendable recital… The whimsical performance of Charles Ives’s ‘The Children’s Hour’ which opens the recital sets high standards of interpretation, John’s mellifluous singing offset by Vann’s tenderly undulating accompaniment. John’s skills as a genial storyteller emerge impressively in Loewe’s ‘Tom der Reimer’, where his understated intelligent pointing of text draws the listener subtly in, without heavy underlining.” **** Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine
Missa Via Victrix
Stanford: Mass ‘Via Victrix’ & At the Abbey Gate Kiandra Howarth (soprano), Jess Dandy (contralto), Ruairi Bowen (tenor), Gareth Brynmor John (baritone) BBC National Chorus & Orchestra of Wales, Adrian Partington
Rescued from obscurity nearly a century after its composition, Stanford’s large-scale post-war mass is definitely worth checking out. Impassioned performances here. — BBC Music Magazine, September 2019
Charles Villiers Stanford: Mass ‘Via Victrix’ (wyastone.co.uk)
Far from being a treatment of the usual Latin, the Requiem of the New York-based Arnold Rosner (1945–2013) sets spiritual and secular texts on death from a number of the world’s cultures, including Whitman, Villon, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, a sutra from Zen Buddhism and the Jewish Kaddish. The work of a young man (Rosner was 28 when he wrote it), this Requiem is both monumental and wildly energetic – but it also encompasses passages of transcendent beauty.
Kelley Hollis, soprano; Feargal Mostyn-Williams, counter-tenor; Thomas Elwin, tenor; Gareth Brynmor John, baritone; Crouch End Festival Chorus; David Temple, chorus master; London Philharmonic Orchestra; Nick Palmer, conductor; First recording
Arnold Rosner: Requiem, Op. 59 (toccataclassics.com)
This recording is of songs, solo piano works and a piano duo by John Sykes. The songs are largely settings from William Blake’s poems of Innocence and Experience, but there are also settings of poems by Sykes’s friend and contemporary, Randall Swingler.
John Sykes (1909-1962) was a pianist, composer and schoolteacher. He gained his FRCO as a schoolboy and became Organ Scholar at Balliol College Oxford. Later, he studied with both Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gordon Jacob. Albion Records is the recording arm of The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society, so it is Sykes’s association as a pupil that inspires this release.
Rowan Pierce (soprano), William Vann (piano), Gareth Brynmor John (baritone), Iain Farrington (piano)
Priory Records PRCD 1220 The Song of Mary and In Praise of Singing, plus anthems and carols. Josephine Goddard (soprano), Gareth Brynmor John (baritone), Vox Cantab and Southern Pro Musica, conducted by Jonathan Willcocks
Celebrate! Choral Music of Jonathan Willcocks – Vox Cantab – Southern Pro Musica – Josephine Goddard (Soprano), Gareth Brynmor John (Baritone) Jane Watts (Organ) – conducted by Jonathan Willcocks | Britain’s Premier Church Music Label (prioryrecords.co.uk)
A new, inspiring Easter Oratorio by Christopher Wood.
Dennis O’Neill CBE tenor; Gareth Brynmor John baritone; Rebecca Bottone soprano; Clare McCaldin; mezzo-soprano
Holyweek by Christopher Wood
Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea Chelsea, William Vann, Gareth Brynmor John
In the centenary anniversary year of the end of the First World War and on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, SOMM Recordings pays tribute to those who fought and fell in battle with In Remembrance. A moving compendium of music spanning 130 years, it features the Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the Choir of Chelsea Pensioners, Staff and Volunteers, sopranos Katy Hill and Leah Jackson, baritone Gareth John and organists James Orford and Hugh Rowlands under the direction of William Vann.
In Remembrance | CD | Download | SOMM Recordings (somm-recordings.com)
Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (arr. Schoenberg)
Historical performance pioneer Trevor Pinnock conducts the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble in revealing chamber arrangements from Mahler to Zemlinksy. Featuring soloists Katie Bray (soprano) and Gareth Brynmor John (baritone).
‘The performances of baritone Gareth Brynmor John in the Mahler and mezzo-soprano Katie Bray in the Zemlinsky are especially warm and intimate in this setting…these performances are so ingratiating, this hybrid SACD is recommended for all listeners.’