CD Reviews

Stanford songs volume 1:

‘Sung with exceptional sensitivity and intelligence…a pleasure to listen to’ (Gramophone)

‘Warmly recommended’ (Classic CD)

‘No praise can be too high for Stephen Varcoe…his warm, natural baritone, finely judged legato and sensitivity to words are a joy throughout’ (International Record Review)

Stanford songs volume 2:

‘Stephen Varcoe is the perfect singer for this repertoire. A treasure of a disc’ (Fanfare)

‘Maintains in each and every bar the high standards of the previous release’ (BBC Music Magazine)

‘Beautifully performed with excellent notes, this recording will convince even the skeptical of the true worth of these songs…a most sensitive performance’ (Gramophone)

‘This collection, along with its predecessor, has changed my life. Without any question, it contains some magnificent songs, settings that would grace any company under the sun…voice and piano are in true partnership. I can only salute with deepest admiration Stephen Varcoe’s sterling baritone, so utterly sympathetic to Stanford’s every note, so undemonstratively secure, so responsive to word and musical line’ (International Record Review)

Parry songs:

‘Une heure d’absolu ravissement’ (Diapason)

Fauré songs:

‘The immaculate voice of Stephen Varcoe singing the four songs of Mirages’ (Music Web International)

Grainger vol 2: songs for baritone – Chandos:

Stephen Varcoe’s nothing less than a marvel. The intonation is dead-on true, the tone clear, the diction immaculate. He phrases sound as supple as a great pop singer, like Bennett, Sinatra, Tormé, or Astaire. He has no annoying vocal mannerisms to snatch attention from the music. He sings superbly even in dialect. Even more wonderful, he has solved the chief problem of a singer of songs: that of “naturalness.” He communicates. He knows what the texts are about and can convey them to the listener. He’s a singing story-teller. I’d love to hear a Winterreise from him, or a Fauré recital. [Classical Net – Steve Schwarz]

Armstrong Gibbs songs – Hyperion

Stephen Varcoe has a perfect song-singer’s voice; not only is the tone blessed with a warmly resonant character that can carry almost any melody, but behind it is a steadiness and strength of sound and sureness of delivery that seems effortless. His upper-register singing is lovely, and he sparingly employs falsetto to delightful effect. [Classics Today – David Vernier]