Michael Csányi-Wills: Songs With Orchestra

Michael Csányi-Wills: Songs With Orchestra

These orchestral songs by the English composer Michael Csányi-Wills (b. 1975) all deal with the subject of loss. In Three Songs – Budapest, 1944 Csányi-Wills uses documentation from his own family history to shadow the fate of Hungary’s Jews under the Nazis. Mortality is an omnipresent theme in A. E. Housman’s Shropshire Lad poems. And Elegy for Our Time sets an anguished lament by Jessica d’Este, sparked by the death of her granddaughter in a car crash. Csányi-Wills responds to the stimulus of these dark texts with music that is hauntingly lyrical and elegiac.

Ilona Domnich, soprano
Nicky Spence, tenor
Jacques Imbrailo, baritone
Chris McKay, horn
Londamis Ensemble
Mark Eager, conductor
First recordings

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Catalogue No: TOCC0329
EAN/UPC: 5060113443298
Release Date: 04.12.2015
Composer: Michael Csány-Wills
Artists: Chris McKay, Ilona Domnich, Jacques Imbrailo, Londamis Ensemble, Mark Eager, Nicky Spence

1 review for Michael Csányi-Wills: Songs With Orchestra

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    “The disc opens with three songs subtitled Budapest… The music speaks of affection and mourning, rather than of violence, protest or despair; as I have come to expect from Csányi-Wills’s music over the years, it is expertly crafted and redolent of tense underlying emotion. … Ilona Domnich sings them simply and expressively… In his note Csányi-Wills states that he wished to express the deeper emotions in Housman that was not always present in earlier settings of the poetry. The first three are settings for baritone, and Jacques Imbrailo adds further laurels to his crown… in his expressive handling of the texts; his delivery of lines such as “Dinner will be cold” chills the blood. … Carpenter’s son, the third song, is a violent protest by the man condemned to death by hanging… Csányi-Wills conjures up a real storm from the orchestra, but Imbrailo rides it triumphantly. The three songs for tenor are likewise superbly taken by Nicky Spence. … Throughout all these songs I observed with enjoyment the composer’s natural sense of rhythmic declamation, which means that the words are nearly always crystal clear… The poem Elegy for our time by Jessica d’Este continues Housman’s themes of “death and the waste of innocent, vulnerable youth”; … It perhaps shows Csányi-Wills moving into a new direction, although the sense of emotional engagement remains as strong as ever. … Ilona Domnich drains all the warmth and vibrato from her voice at the lines “extinguished talent, lifeless, temperance, dust” – and the result is chillingly intense. … This is a recording of real value which should appeal not only to those who like Housman and are interested in settings of his poetry, but anyone who wants to encounter modern music which makes an immediate emotional connection to the listener.” –Music Web International, February 2016

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