Geoffrey BUSH (1920–1998) and Joseph HOROVITZ (b. 1926) – Songs
Susanna Fairbairn, Soprano
Matthew Schellhorn, Piano
BMS/Naxos DISC OF THE MONTH for July 2017 featured soprano Susanna Fairbairn and pianist Matthew Schellhorn in a delightful recital disc of songs by Geoffrey Bush and Joseph Horovitz. Bush made a significant contribution to English song, while Joseph Horovitz’s modest but equally varied contribution includes Lady Macbeth, a powerful, harmonically astringent scena, as well as witty cabaret items. Bush’s Cuisine Provençale has elements of an operatic drama, while the cycle Yesterday enshrines ballad simplicity and deft wordpainting.
Geoffrey Bush made a significant contribution to English song, while Joseph Horovitz’s modest but equally varied contribution includes Lady Macbeth, a powerful, harmonically astringent scena, as well as witty cabaret items and one song which, in its late-Romantic nostalgia, reveals his Viennese roots. Bush’s Cuisine Provençale has elements of an operatic drama, while the cycle Yesterday enshrines ballad simplicity and deft word-painting. Mirabile Misterium sets medieval texts which explore various types of ecstasy, and archy at the zoo demonstrates Bush’s zest and wit.
Born in Vienna, Joseph Horovitz moved to England in 1938. He is a prolific composer in many genres, from ballets and operas to concertos; and from musical scores for television plays to films including Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963). His interest in writing for the clarinet grew out of his friendship with Gervase de Peyer, whom he met when they were students at the Royal College of Music in London in 1948, and they later went on to study in Paris together.
Key Features: This is a British Music Society (BMS) recording and so will be especially targeted at those who love song music by these two near-contemporaries – Joseph Horovitz is still alive aged 90.
Soprano Susanna Fairbairn was a 2013 Park Lane Young Artist, and winner of the Selma D and Leon Fishbach Memorial Prize at the 2014 London Handel Singing Competition.
Pianist Matthew Schellhorn has given performances in major venues throughout the UK, including Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room, and has performed live numerous times on BBC Radio 3. He has also been featured on Classic FM.
Well-known soprano Susan Graham recorded Horovitz’s Lady Macbeth on Onyx but there are no other recordings available of the other Horovitz songs.
There are no competing versions of any of the Geoffrey Bush songs though there is at least one all-Bush song disc around, on Lyrita, released in 2014.