This is a really excellent release (or reissue), not only showcasing the (surprising?) variety of Warlock's song, but rendering them in idiomatic, beautiful and strongly characterized performances. The Curlew is among Warlock's most famous, and is a touchingly poignant and melancholic cycle for tenor and ensemble concerned with love and loss. Adrian Thompson's darkly hued voice is excellent for the work, and the singing is excellent, as is the contribution from the Duke quartet, who takes a less romantic and more restrained approach than others have done (perfectly suitable). The other two cycles here are taken by Maltman, who is no less convincing. The innocent but touching selections from Lilygay are brief but manages to make an impact, and the almost Schoenbergian Saudades are chilly and slightly otherworldly. In the more boisterous songs (drinking songs, at least some of them) Maltman is most convincing, though the more reflective ones (the mysterious Frostbound Wood, for instance) are still excellent.
Thompson, on the other hand, is - apart from the Curlew - better in the more reflective numbers, although I do like the wistful bittersweetness he brings to some of the more upbeat ones. Still, such numbers as the Dowlandesque Peterisms are the highlights. Overall, neither Maltman nor Thompson might be impeccable technically or vocally, but the commitment and color they bring are virtually unsurpassable; they are also superbly accompanied by John Constable. Full texts included as well - this is a genuine bargain, strongly recommended.