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Britten: Folk Song Arrangements

Benjamin Britten Audio CD

Price: 11.82 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles": The Salley GardensGraham Johnson 2:350.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Little Sir WilliamGraham Johnson 3:010.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles": The Bonney Earl o' MorayGraham Johnson 2:350.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles": O can ye sew cushions?Graham Johnson 2:210.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles": The trees they grow so highGraham Johnson 3:360.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles": The Ash GroveGraham Johnson 2:350.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 1, "British Isles": Oliver CromwellGraham Johnson0:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: GreensleevesGraham Johnson 1:570.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: I wonder as I wanderGraham Johnson 4:000.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: The CrocodileGraham Johnson 4:470.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": The Plough BoyGraham Johnson 1:560.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": There's none to sootheGraham Johnson 1:360.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": Sweet Polly OliverGraham Johnson 2:140.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": The Miller of DeeGraham Johnson 1:560.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": The foggy, foggy dewGraham Johnson 2:340.69  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": O Waly, WalyGraham Johnson 4:030.69  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 3, "British Isles": Come you not from Newcastle?Graham Johnson 1:130.69  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: Pray GoodyGraham Johnson0:480.69  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles": The Brisk Young WidowGraham Johnson 2:060.69  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles": Salley in our AlleyGraham Johnson 4:090.69  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles": The Lincolnshire PoacherGraham Johnson 2:090.69  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles": Early one morningGraham Johnson 3:180.69  Buy MP3 
Listen23. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 5, "British Isles": Ca' the yowesGraham Johnson 3:420.69  Buy MP3 
Listen24. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: The Holly and the IvyGraham Johnson 2:240.69  Buy MP3 
Listen25. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: Soldier, won't you marry me?Graham Johnson 1:410.69  Buy MP3 
Listen26. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: The Deaf Woman's CourtshipGraham Johnson 1:190.69  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: Avenging and brightGraham Johnson 1:340.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: Sail on, sail onGraham Johnson 2:260.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: How sweet the answerGraham Johnson 1:570.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: The Minstrel BoyGraham Johnson 2:220.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: At the mid hour of nightGraham Johnson 2:470.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: Rich and rareGraham Johnson 3:060.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: Dear Harp of my Country!Graham Johnson 2:260.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: Oft in the stilly nightGraham Johnson 2:470.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: The last rose of summerGraham Johnson 3:450.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 4: O the sight entrancingGraham Johnson 2:140.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 2, "France": La Noel passeGraham Johnson 3:510.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 2, "France": Voici le PrintempsGraham Johnson 1:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 2, "France": FileuseGraham Johnson 1:500.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 2, "France": Le roi s'en va-t' en chasseGraham Johnson 2:200.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 2, "France": Le belle est au jardin d'amourGraham Johnson 3:120.69  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 2, "France": Il est quelqu' un sur terreGraham Johnson 4:560.69  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 2, "France": Eho! Eho!Graham Johnson 1:560.69  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 2, "France": Quand j'etais chez mon pereGraham Johnson 2:030.69  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 6, "England": I will give my love an applePhilip Langridge 1:180.69  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 6, "England": Sailor-boyPhilip Langridge 1:540.69  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 6, "England": Master KilbyPhilip Langridge 1:590.69  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 6, "England": The Soldier and the SailorPhilip Langridge 2:400.69  Buy MP3 
Listen23. 8 Folk Song Arrangements: Bonny at MornPhilip Langridge 2:310.69  Buy MP3 
Listen24. Folk Song Arrangements, Vol. 6, "England": The Shooting of his DearPhilip Langridge 3:000.69  Buy MP3 
Listen25. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements: The Stream in the ValleyGraham Johnson 2:340.69  Buy MP3 
Listen26. Unidentified folk song settingGraham Johnson 3:340.69  Buy MP3 


Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For All Britten Admirers 9 April 2005
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Many lovers of Benjamin Britten's music have no idea that he made extraordinary arrangements of many folksongs. And although this 2CD set is part of Naxos's 'English Song Series' and although it mainly contains songs from the Britain (and Ireland), Britten also set French and American folksongs and they are included here as this issue comprises all his voice-and-piano folksong settings. (He also made voice-and-orchestra versions of some of the songs here but they are not included.) His interest in poetry was intense, and as a friend has commented, 'Britten's knowledge of the obscure corners of English poetry would have put many a professor of English to shame.' His interest in making these settings lasted his entire composing life. Over the years he made six numbered collections: Vols 1, 3, 5 & 6 are primarily British (and some American) folksongs; Vol. 2 French; Vol. 4 Moore's Irish Songs. Also included here are several scattered single songs and songs published posthumously for a total of 52 songs in all. They are parceled out between two of the greatest English singers of the day: soprano Dame Felicity Lott and tenor Philip Langridge. They are mostly accompanied by the best English accompanist since Gerald Moore, pianist Graham Johnson. (One group are accompanied by guitarist Carlos Bonell, and a couple feature cellist Christopher van Kampen.)

The piano accompaniments are generally rather spare, tending not to call attention to themselves, but on closer listening one realizes that Britten has used his own easily identifiable harmonic and structural sense (not surprisingly, one of Britten's favorite devices, the canon, occurs repeatedly), always in pursuit of bringing out the literal meaning and, even more so, the psychology of the song at hand. For instance, he mimics the harp in 'Dear Harp of our Country' and 'The Last Rose of Summer' and the spinning of the mill-wheel in 'The Miller of Dee' or of the spinning wheel in 'Fileuse.' There is the yearning upward interval used to accompany the girl's name in 'Sally in Our Alley.' There is the sad tolling of the bell in 'At the mid hour of the night,' the indecisive alternating chords in 'O Waly, Waly.' Many of these songs are familiar, but many are obscure, at least to this writer. Each is so aptly set that one discovers new things on each listening. Some old favorites, like 'Sail On, Sail On' and 'The Ash Grove' are given fresh colorings. I was amused to realize that that silly Monty Python send-up, 'The Lumberjack Song,' uses (approximately) the tune of 'The Foggy, Foggy Dew' (set here to a melody different than the one I know from my youth).

The performances, not surprisingly, are about as good as they get. I cannot forget the sound of Janet Baker's voice in 'O Waly, Waly,' but this is no criticism of Lott's version, which is also touchingly effective. Langridge, whose diction is a marvel, is similarly effective in such favorites as 'The Plough Boy,' 'The Foggy, Foggy Dew,' and 'The Minstrel Boy.' Is there a more sensitive accompanist than Graham Johnson? I don't think so. I will admit that am not fond of the guitar (clearly my own idiosyncratic taste) but Carlos Bonell is effective in his accompaniment of Vol. 6, which includes 'I will give my love an apple' and 'Bonny at Morn' among others. At the end of CD2 is a song with cello obbligato played by Christopher van Kampen, and an unknown folksong that, in the absence of text, is given to the cello. The texts, too, are worth studying for their folk-wisdom. I was particularly struck by this line from 'Pray Goody': "Remember when the judgement's weak, the prejudice is strong." ('Pray Goody' also has an especially effective piano accompaniment that requires virtuosic control by the pianist.)

Anyone interested in the music of Britten really ought to own this set. It is an aspect of his art that should not be missed.

2CDs TT=132:47

Scott Morrison
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting folk songs (taken a few at a time) 24 Jun 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Britten made numerous folksong arrangements over the years--the reviewer below summarizes them very well. Here are 52 for tenor voice accompanied by paino, harp, or guitar--there's also a Vol. 2 in addition to this double CD. Only a few items, like The Minstrel Boy and Greensleeves, are likely to sound familiar to American listeners unless they already know Britten's arrangements. He adds subversive harmonies that can be dissonant and distrubing; at other times the arrangements are a bit twee. Philip Langridge has a more mellifluous tone than Peter Pears, for whom almost all the songs were set. This makes the recital easy listening, but the simple tunes quickly become too much of a good thing--it's better to listen to a handful at a time.

Persoally, I like the Irish and Scottish folksongs the best, because of their haunting modal harmonies, and the harpist Ossian Ellis is a marvelous accompanist for several of them, but there's lots to choose form here. The chief drawbacks are two: Langridge was a bit too old by 1995 to keep an unpleasant wobble out of his tone at loud volume, not to mention that he is peculiarly humorless in the comic songs. Second, Graham Johnson is an unimginative accompanist without rhythmic vigor, which compares unfavorably to Britten's own classic recordings, in both mono and stereo, with Pears. Yet for all that, there are many lovely songs here, and they are now available, transferred from the Collins Classics label to Naxos at bargain price.
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