David Solomons was born in 1953. An Oxford graduate,
he was virtually self-taught in music. His compositions include works
for choir, solo voice, organ and chamber groups. His idiom is unashamedly
lyrical, modal - and variedly so – rather than tonal. These ten songs
(the disc plays for slightly under 40 minutes) are stimulatingly varied.
Two, Ludhe Sing Tishu (Summer is a cumen in but dedicated
to hay fever sufferers) and Greek Wassail are parodies. The final
Lookin’ Just Lookin’ is a cabaret song inspired by "lonely
hearts" ads. More serious are the love songs Dawn in the Room,
the lullaby The Quiet Way, the haunting The Swallows,
evocative in its accompaniment and inspired by the Armenian troubles
of 1915 and Rose, a setting of a simple Kurdish poem (translated).
Invocation to the Journey, a Baudelaire poem (translated into
English), was once memorably set by Duparc, though Solomons finds something
fresh to say and pictures the rocking canal boat to perfection.
I found the composer’s eclecticism, in both musical
invention and choice of lyrics (some of them his own), also his choice
of the counter-tenor voice, of the greatest interest. Mr Taylor’s accomplished
and sensitive singing does much for these songs; Mr Leonard is a sympathetic
accompanist. Recording, except for slight "plumminess" in
the piano tone at the outset, is very good. The songs are worth getting
to know and I happily recommend the CD.