Williams, Roderick


Roderick Williams is active in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital, encompassing a repertoire from the baroque to world premieres.

He has enjoyed close associations with Opera North and Scottish Opera, and has also worked for English National Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. As at home in contemporary music as in the standard repertoire, he has taken roles in the world premieres of Sally Beamish's Monster (for Scottish Opera), David Sawer's From Morning to Midnight and Martin Butler's A Better Place (for English National Opera) and Alexander Knaifel's Alice in Wonderland and Michel van der Aa's After Life (for Netherlands Opera). Further contemporary roles include Jaufre Rudel in Saariaho's L'amour de loin (ENO), Eddie in Mark-Anthony Turnage's Greek (BBC) and roles in Tippett's The Knot Garden (Barbican) and Birtwistle's The Second Mrs Kong (Royal Festival Hall).

He has taken major roles in conductor Richard Hickox's semi-staged performances of opera, including Britten's Gloriana (Aldeburgh, 2003), Walton's Troilus and Cressida and most of the Vaughan Williams operas.  Other concert performances include Henze, Strauss, Stravinsky and Wagner (Donner in Das Rheingold for ENO).

He is an accomplished recital artist who can be heard at Wigmore Hall, at many festivals, and on Radio 3, where he has appeared on Iain Burnside's 'Voices' programme.  His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos, and an extensive repertoire of English song with pianist Iain Burnside for Naxos. Roderick Williams is also a composer and has had works premiered at the Wigmore and Barbican Halls, the Purcell Room and live on national radio.

Burnside, Iain

Iain Burnside enjoys a unique reputation as pianist and broadcaster, forged through his commitment to the song repertoire and his collaborations with leading international singers. In recent seasons such artists have included Galina Gorchakova, Ailish Tynan, Lisa Milne, Rebecca Evans, Joan Rodgers, Susan Gritton and Yvonne Kenny; Susan Bickley, Ann Murray and Sarah Connolly; John Mark Ainsley, Mark Padmore and Andrew Kennedy; Roderick Williams, Christopher Maltman and Bryn Terfel.
His wide recording portfolio reflects Iain’s passion for British music and has recently included the ground-breaking project, The NMC Songbook.
Acclaimed as a programmer, Iain has devised a number of innovative recitals combining music and poetry, presented with huge success in Brussels and Barcelona with the collaboration of actors such as Fiona Shaw and Simon Russell Beale. His professorial position at London’s Guildhall School has been expanded to include a directorial role, staging specially conceived programmes with student singers and pianists. He has given masterclasses throughout Europe, at New York’s Juilliard School and the Banff Centre, Canada.
Iain’s broadcasting career covers both Radio and TV and has been honoured with a Sony Radio Award. Following BBC Radio3’s Voices, he now presents his own Sunday morning programme Iain Burnside. Television includes The Proms, Cardiff Singer of the World, Leeds International Piano Competition and BBC Young Musician of the Year.

McCaldin, Clare

Clare is a lyric mezzo-soprano whose presence in performance marks her out as a communicator of outstanding quality on the dramatic stage and concert platform. She is a powerful creative influence, as an interpreter of existing repertoire or commissioning and premiering new music. She enjoys a busy concert schedule, working with pianists such as Libby Burgess, Iain Burnside, Andrew West and Paul Turner. Committed to chamber music collaboration of all kinds, Clare’s work in this area ranges from commissions with the Brodsky Quartet and Walton’s Facade, to baroque works with La Réjouissance and the Le Page Ensemble.
Image Credit: 
Aaron Collett

Lepper, Simon

Simon read music at King’s College Cambridge. He is a professor of piano accompaniment at the Royal College of Music, London where he also co-ordinates the piano accompaniment course. He is an official accompanist for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

Gilchrist, James

James Gilchrist is one of the UK’s leading tenors and has performed in major concert halls throughout the world. Recognised as ‘the finest Evangelist of his generation’ his extensive repertoire embraces works spanning many centuries. He is an enthusiastic and prolific exponent of lieder and enjoys nothing better than putting together interesting and challenging recital programmes. His impressive discography includes the Schubert and Schumann song cycles, Finzi, Vaughan Williams and Britten.
Image Credit: 
Patrick Allen


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Clare McCaldin mezzo-soprano
James Gilchrist tenor
Roderick Williams baritone
Iain Burnside piano
Simon Lepper piano

Composer Hugh Wood is known for his powerfully communicative and lyrical music and this latest release presents a selection of songs spanning his career. They are set to poems by DH Lawrence, Robert Graves, Laurie Lee and Lawrence Durrell, exploring themes of youth, love, lust and longing.

Wild Cyclamen (2006) –  a song-cycle from twelve individual, unrelated poems by Robert Graves – depicts the rise and fall of a love affair. Hugh Wood explains: “Graves wrote no such cycle but I’ve dared to construct one. It doesn’t achieve too strong a story-line, but the songs are meant to be sung in a fixed order”.

The DH Lawrence settings (1998) include three poems Lawrence wrote about his days with Frieda in Bavaria and the Isles of Greece (2007) – written for and dedicated to baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Iain Burnside – is a compilation of poems celebrating various aspects of Greek life and its people.

The earliest works on this recording are the Laurie Lee Songs (1956-58) written when Hugh was in his mid twenties.


‘(Hugh Woods) vocal lines are always skilful amplifications of the text while his idiomatically written piano parts set the voice off to its best advantage.’ BBC Music Magazine

‘They are all scrupulously performed here, with Clare McCaldin engaged in the Laurie Lee settings, Roderick Williams offering precise and sentient articulation in The Isles of Greece, and James Gilchrist seeking out the tensions of Wild Cyclamen and the DH Lawrence settings … Iain Burnside and Simon Lepper are both excellent as always’ BBC Music Magazine

‘There is nothing ordinary or expected in the sixty-four minutes of Wild Cyclamen … Representing a wide swath of Wood’s compositional career, the songs on Wild Cyclamen disclose the voice of a creative spirit clearly acquainted with the songs of Finzi, Quilter, Britten, and Tippett, influenced and perhaps even inspired by them, but compellingly individual.’ Voix Des Arts 

‘The five Laurie Lee Songs come over with a post-Brittenish freshness … It’s from Grave’s poems that Wood has forged the striking 12-song cycle.’ The Sunday Times 


The Isles of Greece was recorded at the Michael Tippett Centre, Bath Spa University on 8 February 2014; the Laurie Lee Songs were recorded at All Saints Church, East Finchley, London on 17 June 2014, and DH Lawrence Songs and Wild Cyclamen at the same venue on 17-18 November 2014.


Recording Producer/ Engineer DAVID LEFEBER
Digital Editing & Mastering DAVID LEFEBER
Executive Producer for NMC COLIN MATTHEWS


Cover image: Pierre Bonnard: Bathing Woman, Seen from the Back’ c.1919 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2014

Graphic design FRANCOIS HALL

(P) 2015 NMC Recordings Ltd © 2015 NMC Recordings Ltd

Chester Music
Catalogue number:
NMC D201
Release Date:
20 April 2015