My Beloved is Mine
James Gilchrist (tenor), Anna Tilbrook (piano)Linn Records CKD404 ****
The songs of Benjamin Britten are forever linked with the distinctive voice that inspired most of them: that of his partner, the tenor Peter Pears. James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook show a clear awareness of the style not only of Pears, a quintessentially English singer, but also of Britten, an always independent, characterful pianist. Pears-like delivery, with its sometimes beaty vibrato, has never been to everybody’s taste.
But the cool passion, penetrating clarity, and immediacy of these new performances is impressive. You can hang on every verbal, vocal and timbral detail, from the early Auden settings of On This Island, through The Holy Sonnets of John Donne and the Italian-language Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo to the tenderest moments of Canticle I, My Beloved Is Mine.