The Airmen: songs by Martin Shaw

Despite a compositional career spanning both World Wars, remarkably little is known about Martin Shaw’s music. It has yet to enjoy the revival of interest that has benefited the legacies of close friends such as Ralph Vaughan Williams and John Ireland. Shaw’s songs range from the whimsical and effervescent to the deeply melancholic, and will be a revelation to many. In rescuing these gems from obscurity, Iain Burnside and his first-class singers have given new life to an unjustly neglected figure.

"This is music full of character, and some of that character is complex and contradictory. Cleanly crafted, the songs are mostly easy to perform, though they need ringing passion and a quick tongue in the texts...Tenor Andrew Kennedy and baritone Roderick Williams are gorgeously eloquent; Iain Burnside's piano satisfies, too."

"This attractive selection benefits from havig three excellent singers, all with good diction. With persuasive performances like these it looks as if there's a case for making room for another English song composer."

"Their style is bold, diatonic and memorably melodic...These performances, with Burnside the immaculate accompanist, are exemplary: there is no better interpreter of English song today than Roderick Williams, and it's a huge tribute to soprano Sophie Bevan and tenor Andrew Kennedy that their contributions are a match for his."

"[Shaw's] lyrical gift is elegant, as is the intelligence of his text setting. There are surprises, too: atmospheric settings that offset the big-boned ballads"

"Iain Burnside’s effortless pianism holds the disc together. All three singers impress, and Delphian’s production values are handsome."

Producer: Paul Baxter
Release Date: 6 February 2012
Catalogue No: DCD34105
Total playing time: 1:17:35

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