Songs by Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky and Ned Rorem

Songs by Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky and Ned Rorem

2008 | Wigmore Hall Live

Gerald Finley (bass-baritone)


Gerald Finley, has just received a 2008 Gramophone Award for a recital of songs by Barber.

This imaginatively conceived recital, recorded in October 2007, brings together works by TchaikovskyMusorgsky – the quintessentially Russian Songs and Dances of Death – and Ned Rorem, born in Indiana in 1923; it also includes encores by Charles IvesEinojuhani Rautavaara and Charles Wolseley.

Hilary Finch, speaking on BBC Radio 3’s CD Review programme, described this recital and CD as “Gerald Finley in his prime – I think he’s never sung better than he’s singing now”, and chose it as her favourite CD of 2008. In the same programme, Rob Cowan spoke of Julius Drake as “marvellous – the things he was finding in the piano part of that song I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody bring out so much in Musorgsky’s piano writing”.

“It is with great sense of pride that this disc becomes the 25th release of the Wigmore Live series, in a musical partnership I have enjoyed for many years with Julius Drake. Performing at the Wigmore is always a highlight of any career. The others in the series are distinguished performers I have admired for years and the performances are wonderful. The audiences at the Wigmore are always welcoming and knowledgeable, and this atmosphere is captured perfectly. Already a fine catalogue, I hope the Wigmore Live series continues its honour roll” Gerald Finley

Track Listing

Don Juan’s Serenade
It Was In Early Spring
At The Ball
By Day Or By Night
The Mild Stars Shone For Us
Only One Who Knows Longing
As Over Burning Embers
Songs Of Dances And Death: Lullaby
Songs Of Dances And Death: Serenade
Songs Of Dances And Death: Trepak
Songs Of Dances And Death: The Field Marshall
War Scenes: A Night Case
War Scenes: Specimen Case
War Scenes: An Incident
War Scenes: Inauguration Ball
War Scenes: The Real War Will Never Get In The Books
Memories (A) And (B)
Shall I Compare Thee?
The Green-Eyed Dragon


“…a really superb recital by this accomplished Canadian bass-baritone and his celebrated accompanist, Julius Drake. In recent years Gerald Finley’s voice has developed more character and cutting power, and a fine dramatic edge which suits this emphatic, sometimes shocking programme very well indeed.” BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

This polished recital, recorded live at Wigmore Hall last October, is mostly taken up with Russian song. In seven works by Tchaikovsky, which include an emotionally sophisticated take on None But the Lonely Heart (here called Only One Who Knows Longing) and a beguiling performance of The Mild Stars Shone for Us, Finlay offers an extraordinary array of rich colours that inevitably turn darker for Musorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death, chillingly delivered. He follows this with something American: Ned Rorem’s 1969 anti-Vietnam cycle War Scenes, declamatory settings of prose texts by Walt Whitman, making a powerful case for this still pertinent work. But darkness turns effortlessly to light with his beautifully delivered encores, pieces by Charles Ives, Einojuhani Rautavaara and Wolseley Charles.
Wigmore Hall Live WHLive0025