MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button


Alun HODDINOTT (1929–2008)
Landscapes (Ynys Môn) Op.87 (1975)a [13:44]
Two Songs from Glamorgan (1990)a [4:30]
The Silver Hound Op.121 (1985)a [11:10]
One Must Always Have Love Op.152 No.3 (1994)b [8:20]
Towy Landscape Op.190 (2006)c [10:36]
Six Welsh Folksongs (1982)a [11:48]
Claire Booth (soprano)bc; Nicky Spence (tenor)a; Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone)c; Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano)abc; Michael Pollock (piano)c
rec. Menuhin Hall, Yehudi Menuhin School, 14 and 29 October 2009 and 18 February 2010

Experience Classicsonline

Although he may best remembered as an orchestral and – more generally – an instrumental composer, Hoddinott nevertheless composed many vocal works. These include his operas, the choral symphony Sinfonia Fidei Op.95 (1977), the short cantata Dives and Lazarus Op.39 (1965) and several song-cycles such as those recorded here, the beautiful Contemplation upon Flowers Op.90 (1976) or the still unrecorded Symphony No.9: A Vision of Eternity (1992).
The song-cycle Landscapes (Ynys Môn) Op.87 was written to words by Emyr Humphreys with whom the composer collaborated on several occasions, among others on the scena Roman Spring Op.54 (1968) once available on disc (Argo) and still awaiting hypothetical re-release. The poems deal with different aspects of Anglesey (Ynys Môn) where the poet and his wife lived. They “explore topography, land and seascapes, history and pre-history, the natural world and the inevitable passage of time” (Geraint Lewis). Words and music make for a nicely contrasted sequence of atmospheres also found in an orchestral work composed at about the same time as the song-cycle and sharing the same title (Landscapes Op.86) inspired by Eryri (“Snowdonia”), a long poem by T.H. Parry Williams, that was on a now long-deleted LP (RCA RL 25082 published in 1977) that might be worth re-issuing onto CD.
The Silver Hound Op.121 sets words by the late Ursula Vaughan Williams with whom the composer had once collaborated. She devised a cycle of poems in which Man remembers various stages of his life, from his birth to his death. The cycle opens with a prologue (“Memory is my silver hound stalking days that time has hidden … Let my seven selves be found quarry for my silver hound”) but, at the very end, the poet questions whether this is all enough (“Did seven selves make one man whole?”). In this song-cycle Hoddinott opted for a fairly simple vocal line nicely suited to the various implications of the words.
In total contrast One Must Always Have Love Op.152 No.3 is set in a more florid way, at times verging on pure ecstasy achieved through a supple though often high-lying vocal line superbly handled here by Claire Booth. The work was commissioned by the American poet Alice Witherspoon Bliss who had already commissioned another work in memory of her mother: Three Motets for chorus and organ composed in 1993. She was so taken by the work that she commissioned this cycle for which the composer selected poems by Christina Rosetti, Emily Dickinson, Alice Bliss and W.B. Yeats. The concluding Yeats setting (The Ragged Wood) is particularly fine.
The 1998 Beaumaris Festival commissioned a work from Hoddinott for Jeremy Huw Williams and piano quintet for which he chose to set parts of Grongar Hill, a long poem by John Dyer (1700–1758). Geraint Lewis tells us that Grongar Hill was a talismanic location of rural Carmarthenshire but also well-known for the Hoddinotts in their childhood years. Another source of inspiration, though, is linked to John Piper who provided illustrations for a special limited edition of Dyer’s poem - one of them adorns the cover of this release. Some time later, Andrew Matthews-Owen commissioned a new work for soprano, baritone and piano duet – and with Claire Booth, Jeremy Huw Williams, Michael Pollock and himself in mind as performers. The composer thus returned to Dyer’s poem and chose several excerpts that he set as a scena. The singers share the various stanzas, if such there really is, chosen by the composer. They sing together in the opening stanza, the third and the poignant sixth that concludes the work, whereas the baritone has the second and the fifth all for himself and the soprano the animated and rather tense fourth stanza. The fifth section for baritone is particularly remarkable in that it is a typical Hoddinott Scherzo. Towy Landscape Op.190 as a whole is a fairly impressive work on any count; and, although the composer was not aware of it at the time, it was to be his last vocal work. Retrospectively, however, the last lines (“Calmly regardless hastening to the sea/As I thro’life shall reach Eternity”) all the more moving.
Two Songs from Glamorgan and Six Welsh Folksongs are comparatively simpler and more straightforward works since they mostly consist in unfussy arrangements of some fairly well-known Welsh folk tunes, all done with taste and often subtlety. The Two Songs from Glamorgan are sung to Geraint Lewis’ English translations whereas the Six Welsh Folksongs are sung to Rhiannon Hoddinott’s English translations. The second of the Two Songs is very fine and has some Housman-ish accents. The Six Welsh Folksongs are mostly elegiac but Ap Shenkin stands out as a jolly rumbustious piece of music.
Performances and recording are really very fine indeed. All three singers obviously enjoy the music and their immaculate singing is nicely matched by subtlety and nuance when required. I must also single-out Geraint Lewis’s informative and detailed notes.
Hoddinott’s music was once well served in terms of commercial recordings. Many of them have gone out of the catalogue but a number of them have resurfaced on Lyrita; but this well-filled release is the first recent disc entirely devoted to his music and, as such, is a most welcome addition to Hoddinott’s discography, the more so that the composer’s vocal music has not been extensively explored so far.

Hubert Culot


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.