Ian Venables’ CD of Songs, by Malcolm Hayes

A Review of the Composer’s CD of Songs
by Malcolm Hayes

Explorers of music closer to home will find interesting territory in The Songs of Ian Venables ably sung by Kevin McLean-Mair. Much of this music, like Venables’ choice of poets – Clare, Hardy, Harold Monro – points to an affinity with turn-of-the century composers, notably Bridge. At the same time, there’s no mistaking the emotional and technical strength in Venables’ songs, besides their very real beauty – qualities which can only come from an individuality as deep as it is genuine. Can a living composer’s music ring true if it sounds as much of the past 80 years or so had just not happened? It’s an absorbing question. Venables’ music thickens the plot.