Malcolm Williamson 70th Birthday Concert // Wigmore Hall

"Of the three substantial song cycles on the programme, From A Child's Garden (1968) was outstanding. The delightful settings of verses by Robert Louis Stevenson allow the full range of Williamson's technique and expressive power to be explored. Capturing the innocent world of lost childhood perfectly, Australian soprano Natalie Christie illuminated each song with an infant's sincerity. Thus, in "Looking Forward", the admonition to other girls and boys "not to meddle with my toys" was delivered with a look of proprietary defiance. Similarly, tender feelings for flowers, and the thrill of a railway carriage ride were conveyed with an engaging sense of wonder. 

Anthony Gray provided sympathetic and roundly characterised accompaniments, his familiarity with the Williamson style - an eclectic mix of serious and popular elements - already honed on recordings of the composer's piano music. This was a genuine performance of a quintessential Williamson work in the hands of ideal interpreters."

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Paul Conway