Already in its sixth summer, Tardebigge’s much-loved Celebrating English Song series gave a first recital of songs by American composers.
Examples by some Stateside greats of vocal composition (Ives, Copland, Barber) showed their breadth of literary resource and versatility of response, and were grippingly communicated by the tenor Tom Randle and his accompanist Elizabeth Rowe.
Their operatic background was very clear throughout, Randle gesturing both through his voice and in natural, Rowe bringing pianistic tones of great richness and immediacy. In this airy, spacious acoustic this approach had engaging presence, as did Randle’s charming, sincere conversational manner as he shared thoughts with us. He introduced the premiere of From Dreams and Turning, his own setting of five poems by A.E. Housman, commissioned by Celebrating English Song with support from the Housman Society. This Los Angeles-born young man admitted his temerity in bringing such coals to Housmanland but he needn’t have worried.