Throughout his creative life, Benjamin Britten was a prolific composer of songs, producing over 100 settings for voice and piano, in addition to the works for voice and orchestra. His songs for voice and piano of which this is the first in a two volume 4CD cycle - contain settings by poets as diverse as Michelangelo, Hölderlin, Hardy, Pushkin, Auden and Soutar. The earliest songs date from 1922, when Britten was just nine years old. These rarities display little of the mature composer's style, but they are confident and charming settings. Many of these early songs are receiving their premiere recordings here. The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Winter Words and The Poet's Echo represent mature Britten. This survey of all Britten's songs for voice
and piano is a major project, and Malcolm Martineau has assembled some of the finest young singers of our time for this fascinating journey through this important repertoire.
If there's such a thing as an accompanist of genius, it is Malcolm Martineau. --The Guardian