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Music Review: Art Songs of the British Romantics


Stanley Wilson shows his virtuous voice alongside his heritage in an album that deserves to a listen.  While I have a special place in my heart for Elgar and Vaughan Williams, Wilson opens the door to other British romantic composers that are not as widely known. 

The album opened with a glorious vocal range that showed Wilson’s abilities.  Stanley Wilson has obviously perfected his craft and has tremendous accuracy as he sings these songs beautifully and perfectly.  The Frank Bridge and Roger Quilter compositions fit in very well with the Elgar and Vaughn Williams pieces, some of which I recognized.  All of the pieces are from the British Romantic era, and by the end of the album, one piece seemed to blend into the next. 

Though I really enjoyed the vocal abilities and performance of this album I thought it was lacking in some crucial areas.  Since the pieces do all sound similar, more expression within individual pieces would have made the album much better.  Sometimes it felt that Wilson knew the piece very well but did not use musical expression to portray the emotions that the lyrics held.  Because of this, the album seemed lengthy as the songs sounded began to sound the same. 

The Vaughn Williams songs were the best on the album, and the collection of “Songs of Travel” are some his more well known works.  Easy to recognize, Whither I Must Wander is a great listen and reminds of Christmas hymns.  The pianist, Malcolm Halliday, seemed to really shine though on the Vaughn Williams pieces which made the pieces more dynamic and enjoyable. 

Overall, this album was a good, though long winded listen.  I would not recommend listening to the entire album as it might put you to sleep, but instead intersperse in a wider variety playlist.