The Poet’s Echo

Justin Vickers (tenor), John Orfe (piano)

Catalog #: TROY1949
Release Date: November 1, 2023
Format: Digital

A magical new recital featuring the world-première recording of Britten’s only Russian-language cycle The Poet’s Echo in the English-language translation that Peter Pears crafted during the period of the cycle’s composition in Yerevan, Armenia (1965). Tenor Justin Vickers and pianist John Orfe essay important performances of Britten’s Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo alongside Britten’s mysterious Goethe setting, “Um Mitternacht” (1960). This rich recital release introduces two additional world-première song cycles composed for Vickers. In the Six Chinese Songs (2019-2020) composed by Colin Matthews in memory of the tenor’s father John E. Vickers (1942–2017), we hear Matthews’s reflections on his own musical father, Britten, for whom Matthews served as the last musical assistant. In John David Earnest’s Songs of Hadrian (2014), we enter the world of second-century Roman Emperor Hadrian and his love and ultimate grief and madness over his eromenos Antinous. The disc concludes with a work Vickers uncovered in the Britten–Pears Library in its world-première recording: the “Epilogue” (1945) to The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, which Britten cut from the cycle. This is a recording that is a must-have for Britten devotees and finds American tenor Justin Vickers at the top of his craft, accompanied by one of America’s most accomplished pianists in John Orfe (of the acclaimed ensemble Alarm Will Sound).


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 Benjamin Britten Justin Vickers (tenor); John Orfe (piano)
Six Chinese Songs Colin Matthews Justin Vickers (tenor); John Orfe (piano)
Um Mitternacht Benjamin Britten Justin Vickers (tenor); John Orfe (piano)
Songs of Hadrian John David Earnest Justin Vickers (tenor); John Orfe (piano)
The Poet's Echo, Op. 76 Benjamin Britten Justin Vickers (tenor); John Orfe (piano)
Epilogue (John Donne) Benjamin Britten Justin Vickers (tenor); John Orfe (piano)

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