Album: Paul Agnew/Julius Drake

Gurney: Severn Meadows, Hyperion
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The Independent Culture

Ivor Gurney, a composer and poet who survived the First World War and returned to his studies at the Royal College of Music only to degenerate into mental illness, died in 1937 leaving a legacy of 200 songs, one of which, Sleep, has become a classic of English song. Pianist Julius Drake and tenor Paul Agnew's recital of his clever, vulnerable songs is a masterpiece of sensitivity. Drake's touch is more defined than ever; a delicate cartography of Gurney's chromaticism. And Agnew has a warm buttery tone that embraces these songs' subtle lines. A perceptive reading.