Ivor Gurney, doubly gifted as both poet and composer was born in 1890. The wonderful song cycle presented here, was inspired by Gurney's discovery of William Bliss Carmen's poems in 1919. Carmen's poems were imaginative reconstructions of the surviving fragments of the nine volumes written by Sappho, who was born in 612BC. Sappho is said to have been the leader of a band of maidens who worshipped Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. Sappho's affections seem to have been directed exclusively at women and the sensuously erotic fragments that have come down through millennia to us tell of one of Sappho's passionate love affairs. This wonderful song cycle, full of beauty and emotion, transports us back to the isle of Lesbos and, with words of great tenderness and beauty, tells the story of a heady, passionate, all-consuming love that is so strong the pain of parting becomes overwhelming and almost too much to endure.
These are all absolutely beautiful songs in a sensitively and intelligently composed set. Ideal for recitals, comes to about 11mins 30secs and has a tessitura of around B natural to D sharp, with the odd foray up to a Gsharp. Highly recommended. Anonymous
- (Glasgow, United Kingdom)