In February 2016 I spent some time on the Suffolk coast recording a new CD of Donald Swann’s Art Songs and Cycles.
The Musical Director is Christopher Glynn and the project was initiated by baritone Leon Berger who was for several years a collaborator with the late Donald Swann, and is now archivist and editor of his music. Soloists will include soprano Dame Felicity Lott, baritone Roderick Williams and tenor John Mark Ainsley and the CD is recorded and produced by Jeremy Hayes and Ben Connellan.
We spent a few days recording together in the relaxed setting of Potton Hall. The studio is used for recording chamber music and musicians at the top of the classical music profession who travel from all over the world to record there.
Donald, though known primarily for the comic songs he wrote with Michael Flanders, set to music poems and lyrics throughout his life. Mostly love songs early on and, in later years, sustained settings of Victorian verse. In addition to the well-known influences of his inherited Russian music and acquired Greek songs, he is very much an inheritor of the English vocal tradition of Quilter and Warlock, but with the unmistakeable Swann voice veering from Romantic yearning to infectious melody. Known and loved only by a handful of singers and fans, these songs – most of them receiving their first commercial release – deserve a wider hearing.
I have absolutely loved being introduced to and recording these beautiful Donald Swann songs – they are real gems. The release of the CD will be sometime next year so there is plenty to look forward to! For more news and information about Donald Swann visit http://www.donaldswann.co.uk/index.html