Benjamin Hulett
tenor
cd review


Debut Recital Disc including World Premiere recording

Berkeley, Britten, Quilter, Vaughan Williams, Swayne (world premiere)
Departures
Songs by Britten, Vaughan Williams, Berkeley, Quilter and Swayne
Alexander Soddy, piano
label:   Saphrane
 • 

'Sublime British tenor. 
England has Ian Bostridge and Mark Padmore, but on the British tenor firmament another new star is rising. It is Benjamin Hulett. Two years ago he already struck during the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam with Les illuminations by Benjamin Britten, resulting in a brilliant live CD. Now the same Saphrane label presents his second recording, Departures, devoted to mostly lesser known songs: Berkeley, Quilter, Swayne, Britten and Vaughan Williams. Hulett has a dream timbre and his enunciation is exemplary, even when he sings in French. The question whether all these songs are interesting is hardly relevant in the presence of so much beauty. Pianist Alexander Soddy accompanies. (****)'


De Telegraaf
 • 

'Dangerous: opening a song with the Homeric paraphrase 'O Muse, I sing of...' and then after a tense pause switching to '... budget flights'. That Giles Swayne succeeds in doing this in The Joys of Travel has everything to do with the qualities of the singer for whom he composed his accusation against mass tourism: Benjamin Hulett. This young British tenor brightens up his cd Departures with it. Travelling, leaving the paved roads, Hulett's cleverly chosen recital reflects both. The Brit Lennox Berkeley apparently composed to the poems of Jean Cocteau; Benjamin Britten was already occupied with Verlaine and Hugo as a 14- year old; Roger Quilter dipped his pen in German Romanticism. Nice works, no problem with those. But it is the voice that makes one want to listen to the cd until the last bit. Hulett is one of those high English tenors who soars through the skies as if friction and gravity do not exist. Very clear, always focused, without shaky vibrato or whinyness. As an extra he delivers the bittersweet Songs of Travel by Ralph Vaughan Williams. His pianist is called Alexander Soddy, another name to remember. And bravo for the Dutch label Saphrane that spotted this British duo. (****)'


De Volkskrant
No7 in their 'Best Discs of 2010
 • 

'The stylish and technically secure English tenor Benjamin Hulett has devised with his pianist Alexander Soddy an original programme of 20th-century English song focused on travel.'


Rupert Christiansen/The Telegraph, 21 January 2011

 • 

'The young English tenor Benjamin Hulett has been enjoying a rising profile in Europe's concert halls and opera houses over the past half decade (most conspicuously at the Hamburg State Opera), his status increasingly enhanced by notable guest appearances on disc...In all, as much a triumph for the young Dutch label Saphrane (founded as recently as 2006) as for Soddy and Hulett, who is clearly a name to watch with interest.'

Michael Quinn/The Classical Review, 10 January 2011
 • 

'Benjamin Hulett, an English tenor... is an up-and-coming singer whose CD debut recitals suggest (he is) equally adept at putting together a programme.'


Financial Times
 • 

'If further proof of Hulett's ability to alter his tone and grade it to each song is needed, listen to the change in colour as he moves from 'The Roadside Fire' to the soft opening of 'Youth and love'. I admire the whole cycle, but having it sung with such sensitivity and played so responsively makes it seem even better... The clear recording is at a high level. Hulett's enunciation is extremely good.'


International Record Review
 • 

'Hulett brings his warm, pliable tenor to a selection of English rovers. The carefully constructed programme of Lennox Berkeley's Tombeaux, Quilter's Four songs of Mirza Schaffey, Giles Swayne's scythingly satirical The Joys of Travel, Britten' s Quatre Chansons Francaises and Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel demands - and receives- multilingual facilty. This is augmented greatly by Soddy's sensitive playing. What wins this programme the accolade though, is the way it builds almost into an operatic essay on the thrills and trials of foreign travel. (*****)'
Classical Music

Classical Music
Classical Music Disc of the Week