and other songs for voice and piano
Format: Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Label: Centrediscs / Centredisques
Healey Willan immigrated to Canada in 1913 and by then had already composed seventy-six songs for voice and piano. Among these are some of his most well-known and often performed songs including The Tourney, The Cashel of Munster, and The Lake Isle of Innisfree. Yet, until very recently, dozens of mostly original song manuscripts from his most prolific period of vocal solo song composition, had remained unpublished.
This first ever recording devoted entirely to songs by Healey Willan presents a program of beloved favourites as well as several lesser known pieces, now published by Canadian Art Song Project and distributed through the Canadian Music Centre. Featuring baritone Peter Barrett, soprano Martha Guth, mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy and pianist Helen Becqué, these artists pay homage to the legacy of performers who included Willan’s songs and arrangements as part of their frequent recital offerings.
At present Willan’s art songs have waned almost to the point of obscurity even while many of his other works for choir, orchestra and organ remain in the repertoire. However, Willan always held his songs in high regard and believed they deserved more attention. Now firmly into the 21st century, we can look back at Willan’s songs and recognize them for their significance and admire their beauty as part of the Canadian legacy of art song.