Latest review of ‘The Frostbound Wood’

Fanfare Magazine, Monday 19th October, 2009


Henry Fogel, a reviewer for Fanfare Magazine for over 20 years, write’s about Tim’s debut solo CD

‘Most of the songs on this disc were not written for countertenor, but they work wonderfully in these performances because of Travers-Brown’s lovely, subtle, and strongly inflected singing. I thought that the consistently pure tone of a countertenor might wear on the ears over an hour of listening, but it did not. The singer’s ability to get inside the notes, to vary his color and his dynamics to suit the music and the texts, and the colorful piano playing of Jeremy Filsell combine to make this a highly engaging disc.
The majority of these songs are by Peter Warlock, née Philip Heseltine (1894–1930). He died, probably a suicide, considering himself a failure as a musician because he had not achieved the fame he thought he merited. From what I know of his music, he was right in feeling entitled to more respect than he got. These songs are wonderful—highly varied in mood and infectious. His word-setting is stunningly natural and apt, with music and texts married perfectly.
Michael Howard (1922–2002) wrote his songs for the countertenor voice, as did Betty Roe (b. 1930). The latter’s have a spiritual, even other-worldly feel, and Howard’s show his background as an organist with an interest in early music. Herbert Howells’s songs range from the folk-like to the almost mystical, and along with Warlock’s they stay in the memory firmly. Howells (1892–1983) is quoted as saying “I have composed out of sheer love of trying to make nice sounds,” and he succeeded.
Throughout, one is struck by the sensitivity and beauty of the performances. The recorded sound is well balanced, though just a bit swimmy. Excellent notes and full texts are provided. All in all, this is a delightful disc to which I shall return many times.’