Settings from A. E. Housman's 'A Shropshire Lad'
This recording of Housman songs by four composers was one of Meridian's big successes when it was first issued on LP ten years ago. Now it comes on CD and still my only reservation—a large one, I admit—is that I do not find Graham Trew a very interesting or compelling singer. His voice lacks variety of colour and his interpretative gifts are strictly limited. A better artist would have made the Somervell settings more exciting. As it is, they sound pedestrian, for all that Roger Vignoles does with the piano accompaniments.
Six of Butterworth's settings are sung adequately, but who that remembers Roy Henderson's 1941 Decca recordings can be satisfied with these renderings? Peel's ''In Summertime on Bredon'' is perhaps the best performance, and as a setting it still takes some beating. It is good to be able to compare Gurney's and Butterworth's settings of ''Is my team ploughing?'' One cannot say which is better, just be thankful for both.'