Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Stanford: Cushendall, Irish Song Cycles


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0681
Release Date: 2024-02-09
Number of Discs: 1
EAN/UPC: 748871068124
Artists: , ,
Liner Notes

SOMM Recordings continues its acclaimed championing of the music of Charles Villiers Stanford with Cushendall, a captivating collection of his Irish song cycles by mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty, baritone Benjamin Russell and pianist Finghin Collins.

Twelve first recordings include the seven-part Cushendall, a trio of Blarney Ballads, and two songs from Stanford’s opera Shamus O’Brien.

Composed during a period of political turbulence in his native Ireland, the Irish song cycles, Stanford’s biographer Jeremy Dibble comments in his authoritative notes, “undoubtedly articulate an increasing sense of regret, isolation and personal nostalgia [for what] was no longer the country and
home he had known from his youth”.


Setting poems by Ulster-Scots poet John Stevenson, Cushendall evokes the landscape and way of life on Antrim’s coastline in some of Stanford’s most sophisticated music with allusions to Irish folksongs and Wagner’s Die Walküre.

A Fire of Turf sets Winifred Letts’ reflections on “the passing seasons of the year… an analogy with the protagonist’s recollection of his past life…
memories kept alive by the glowing warmth of the turf”. A Sheaf of Songs from Leinster contains six variegated songs, again setting Letts; the Blarney
delightfully wicked lampoons of Britain’s then Prime Minister, Gladstone; the highly popular Shamus O’Brien providing two contrasting arias.

SOMM’s previous Stanford recordings include his String Quintets (SOMMCD 0623) and String Quartets (SOMMCD 0160, 0185, 0607) with the Dante
Quartet, praised by Gramophone for their “ardent, alert and thoroughly lived-in performances”, and Partsongs with the Paul Spicer-led Birmingham
Conservatoire Chamber Choir (SOMMCD 0128), which Limelight described as “excellent… beautifully sung”.

Children’s Songs (SOMMCD 0655), with Kitty Whately, Gareth Brynmor John and Susie Allan, was lauded by Opera Today as “a generous, involving recital”, while Gramophone hailed SOMM’s world premiere recording of The Travelling Companion (SOMMCD 274-2) as “a landmark”.


On This Recording

Cushendall, Op. 118 (25:41)*a
  1. Ireland (3:21)
  2. Did you ever? (2:59)
  3. Cushendall (4:45)
  4. The Crow (2:01)
  5. Daddy-Long-Legs (3:06)
  6. How Does the Wind Blow? (5:10)
  7. Night (4:18)
A Fire of Turf, Op. 139b
  1. A Fire of Turf (3:48)
  2. The Chapel on the Hill (2:51)
  3. Cowslip Time (1:30)
  4. Scared (2:09)
  5. Blackberry Time (2:31)
  6. The Fair (1:52)
  7. The West Wind (3:55)
A Sheaf of Songs from Leinster, Op. 140 (15:48)a
  1. Grandeur (4:22)
  2. Thief of the World (1:00)
  3. A Soft Day (2:19)
  4. Little Peter Morrissey (3:02)
  5. The Bold Unbiddable Child (1:02)
  6. Irish Skies (4:03)
Blarney Ballads (14:51)b
  1. The Grand Ould Man (7:00)
  2. The March of the Man of Hawarden (3:52)
  3. The Wearing of the Blue (3:59)
Two Songs from Shamus O’Brien, Op. 61 (6:24)*a
  1. Where is the Man that is Coming? (2:39)
  2. A Grave Yawns Cold (3:45)
*First Recordings

aSharon Carty, mezzo-soprano
bBenjamin Russell, baritone
Finghin Collins, piano