MICHAEL F. WILLIAMS (b.1962): The Prodigal Child.
Catalogue Number: 03O092
Reference: ACD 306
Description: Alan Riach's libretto basically expands and provides a back story for Hugh MacDiarmid's poem 'Empty Vessel' about a woman singing to her dead child (previously and memorably set to music by F. G. Scott), transplanted to colonial New Zealand. We meet the child's father, and see how love is rekindled in his loveless marriage through the stirrings of feelings resulting from the lamenting for the child and his wife's compassion for the bereaved mother. Williams' music quotes a Celtic lament in extenso; much of the music is grief-laden and emotionally eloquent, with a special intimacy suggested by the piano quintet instrumentation. The music is tonal and straightforwardly accessible, the better to frame its unassuming little domestic drama. Libretto included. Stephanie Acraman (soprano), Joanne Cole-Rosser (mezzo), Paul Whelan (baritone), Ogen Plus (piano quintet).