Roderick williams

When Fauré played The Spectator

Gabriel Fauré composed his song cycle La bonne chanson in 1894 for piano and voice. But he added string parts later and he premièred that version in April 1898 at the London home of his friend Frank Schuster: 22 Old Queen Street, the building currently occupied by this very magazine. I’m not sure how much Fauré gets played at Spectator HQ these days; his music certainly hasn’t been a feature of recent summer parties. Perhaps Fauré himself caressed the ivories where James Delingpole and Toby Young now prop up the bar. Imagine Verlaine’s poetry drifting out into the garden to mingle with Rod Liddle’s cigarette smoke on the moonlit air.

Perfect English songs in fresh new colours: Roderick Williams sings Butterworth

Another week, another online concert; and since orchestral music seems likely to be confined to screens and stereos for a while longer, one might as well try and experience something new. But not too new — I’ve pretty much had it up to here with the present. The Hallé orchestra is currently streaming a collection of Shropshire Lad songs by George Butterworth, conducted by Sir Mark Elder and sung by the baritone Roderick Williams in orchestral versions of his own creation. That seems ideal: music by the most perfect of English classical songwriters, in fresh and unfamiliar new colours. And time spent with an artist as likeable and intelligent as