Derek Holman had a significant impact on me as I began to look into the Canadian art song repertoire after moving to Canada in the early 2000’s. He had an incredible, challenging wit and I found his songs to be some of the most beautiful and unique among the repertoire at that time.

I developed quite a good relationship with Derek as he approached his eighth decade of life. Working with him on The Four Seasons along with Liz Upchurch is one of my most treasured memories as a recitalist. Following that incredible collaboration and after the premiere of the Three Songs for High Voice and Harp with Sanya Eng at his Eightieth birthday celebration concert at Walter Hall, Canadian Art Song Project set out on our first commercial recording, focussing on music by Derek. A few years later we collaborated with the Aldeburgh Connection (Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata) and Colin Ainsworth to release another CD of Derek’s vocal works.

Unfortunately, it seems that the CBC recording of The Centred Passion with Gerald Finley and Stephen Ralls is no longer available so I can’t highlight that iconic work in this playlist, so there is a lot of tenor along with the beautiful and compelling soprano of Mireille Asselin featured in this collection of Derek Holman’s songs. But, in case you are wondering, there are a few more works of his for mezzo-soprano and baritone that need more performances!

Derek Holman: 16 May 1931 (Cornwall, England) – 20 May 2019 (Ottawa, Canada)