SOMM Recordings announces a major addition to the Richard Strauss catalogue with new recordings of his settings of two era-defining melodramas: the epic poem Enoch Arden by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, England’s revered and longest-serving Poet Laureate, and German poet Ludwig Uhland’s atmospheric interrogation of a traveller returning from a mysterious mediaeval fortress, The Castle by the Sea. Making their SOMM Recordings debuts are actor Christopher Kent and pianist Gamal Khamis.
Both works were composed for the distinguished German actor and director, Ernst von Possart. A powerful, potent and timeless tale of honour, love and sacrifice within a love triangle, Enoch Arden is one of Strauss’s most evocative and emotional scores. The Castle by the Sea – here in its first recording of Christopher Kent’s translation – is a miniature gothic masterpiece.
Christopher Kent has appeared widely on stage (alongside Robert Lindsay and Timothy Spall), screen and radio. One of the UK’s best-known voice actors, he is also known for his extensive collaborations with leading musicians, and has been a regular recital partner of Gamal Khamis since 2016.
Gamal Khamis is a multi-award-winning pianist with a flourishing international career hailed by The Times for his “formidable keyboard skills”. He made his Wigmore Hall debut aged 10, is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3, and a member of Lipatti Piano Quartet.
The booklet includes an authoritative introduction by Andrew Neill, with Christopher Kent and Gamal Khamis providing additional illuminating commentary.
On This Recording
- I. Prelude. Andante. "Long lines of cliff breaking"
- II. "So these were wed." Langsam.
- III. Allegro appassionato. "She when the day that Enoch mention'd"
- IV. Tranquillo. "And so ten years, since Enoch left"
- V. Annie's Dream, Langsam. "When lo" Her Enoch sitting on a height"
- VI. Prelude. Allegro moderato. "And where was Enoch?"
- VII. "Thus over Enoch's early silvering head"
- VIII Allegro agitato. "Now, when the dead man come to life"
- IX. Langsam. "Woman, disturb me not now at the last"
- The Castle by the Sea, TrV191
Enoch Arden, Op. 38, TrV181. From the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The Castle by the Sea, TrV191. Text by Ludwig Uhland, trans. Christopher Kent *
* FIRST RECORDING
“Actor Christopher Kent offers ideal fine-tuning to Gamal Khamis’s playing… It’s a gift to hear… a significant coup” —David Nice, BBC Music Magazine (4 Stars)
“fascinating… it would be hard to imagine any duo bettering these enthralling treatments by Kent and Khamis.” —Ron Schepper, Textura
“thought-provoking and riveting… an intimate, engaging piece of chamber music… you’ll be entranced.” —Clair Seymour, OperaToday