Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Tongues of Fire: Songs by Eric McElroy


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0665
Release Date: 2023-03-17
Number of Discs: 1
EAN/UPC: 748871066526
Artists: ,
Liner Notes

SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce the label debut of pianist-composer Eric McElroy with Tongues of Fire, a collection of 20 songs, all in premiere recordings, performed with acclaimed tenor James Gilchrist.

American-born, Oxford, England-based, McElroy has composed extensively for piano, voice, choir, orchestra and various chamber ensembles, and has a growing reputation for his song settings of contemporary poets.

Tongues of Fire features four song-cycles and a single song by living and 20th-century poets. Six of Robert Graves’ early war poems form ‘A Dead Man’s Embers’. As McElroy comments in his erudite booklet notes, the songs are “about death, exploring as they do our schizophrenic feelings of terror and awe towards the subject”.

The much-lauded American poet W.S. Merwin provides the source for ‘After the Voices’, five songs with an “undercurrent of displacement, nostalgia, and identity” that gloss the poet’s conviction that “poetry is about what cannot be said”. Setting five poems by Gregory Leadbetter, The Fetch, says McElroy, is “a song-cycle about the uncanny… a confrontation between experience and language”.

The disc’s title, Tongues of Fire, is taken from three settings by Grevel Lindop, whose work McElroy asserts, “exemplifies the Erotic Sublime [and] conveys truths about love and desire that are, in the profoundest sense, universal”.

Completing the disc is Alice Oswald’s A Short Story of Falling, which “expresses in couplets the enormous range of water’s manifestations and powers… evoking both the grace and wild force of waterscapes that exist above, below, around, and within ourselves…. a poem that is full of joy”.

James Gilchrist’s previous SOMM recordings include three admired volumes of One Hundred Years of British Song (SOMMCD 0621; 0636; 0646), two volumes of Parry’s English Lyrics (SOMMCD 257; 270), and Penelope Thwaites’ From Five Continents (SOMMCD 0612), to which, theclassicalreview said, “Gilchrist brings authority throughout”.

On This Recording

    The Fetch: Five Poems of Gregory Leadbetter

  1. I. Misterioso
  2. II. Stalking
  3. III. Statuary I
  4. IV. Statuary II
  5. V. This
  6. A Short Story of Falling:

  7. A Poem of Alice Oswald
  8. After the Voices: Five Poems of W.S. Merwin

  9. I. On a Distant Shore
  10. II. The Laughing Thrush
  11. III. The Morning
  12. IV. The Nomad Flute
  13. V. After the Voices
  14. Tongues of Fire: Three Poems of Grevel Lindop

  15. I. Watching
  16. II. Mirror and Candle
  17. III. Myth
  18. A Dead Man's Embers: - Six Poems of Robert Graves

  19. I. Two Fusiliers
  20. II. Here They Lie
  21. III. A Dead Boche
  22. IV. Haunted
  23. V. I'd Love to Be a Fairy's Child
  24. VI. Strong Beer