This exclusive new recording turns the spotlight on a forgotten but fascinating corner of British music and theatre history. The Fringes of the Fleet, a patriotic song-cycle with words by Kipling, was the morale-raising headline act in variety theatres throughout the country, as World War I reached its climax in 1917. This recording is a significant document in understanding a forgotten era of British music.
Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, Tom Higgins Conductor, Roderick Williams, Nicholas Lester, Duncan Rock, and Laurence Meikle
Laurence joins a stellar cast of international Wagnerian voices in the supporting role of The Alexandrian in Sappho, the last grand opera of Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912–90), which was written in her stone cottage on Mykonos in 1963. Never heard before this recording, Sappho reflects Glanville-Hicks’ fascination with the orient and folk music, encapturing the colours of ancient Greece, with a heroic brass fanfare and epic writing for chorus, haunting woodwind solos and shimmering percussion evoking the stillness of crystal island waters. Deborah Polaski, who creates the role of the disenchanted Sappho, describes it as ‘the kind of music that singers want to sing’. The libretto, based on Lawrence Durrell’s verse-play, incorporates fragments of Sappho’s own verse.
Orquestra Gulbenkian, Jennifer Condon Conductor
With Deborah Polaski, Roman Trekel, Wolfgang Koch, and Sir John Tomlinson
Laurence sings the bass protagonist, Carlo Belmonte, in Meyerbeer's bel canto extravaganza. This new production by Alessandro Talevi was the work 's modern-day premiere at the Festival della Valle d'Itria in 2017. Conducted by Fabio Luisi.
Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia, Fabio Luisi Conductor, with Giulia de Blasis, Anton Rositskiy and Laurence Meikle