BOSTRIDGE: CLASSIC BUT NOT CLASSICAL!
(This is a much less expensive reissue of this recording.)
On this disc of Noel Coward's songs, Ian Bostridge emphasizes the 'classy', not the witty part of Noel Coward. Ably assisted by pianist, Jeffrey Tate and soprano, Sophie Daneman, Bostridge sings, with his mellifluous and resonant tenor voice, Coward songs dating from the 1920's and 1930's, most of them associated with Coward's musical revues, as well as one of his book musicals "Bitter Sweet". The closest Bostridge comes to the witty Coward is in the somewhat 'kooky' song 'Mad Dogs and Englishman', which he sings faster than the speed of light. Daneman joins in some of the backward gurgling in the song(as well as in five other songs).
Actually, Coward is not anethama to the 'dressed up in tuxedo' image of Bostridge. Despite Cowards common birth heritage, he affected an upper-class manner consistent with Bostridge's treatment of his music in this recording. Coward himself (who was self-taught), recorded these songs in his own tenor voice and with similar piano accompaniments.
Probably the most familiar song on this disc is "I'll See Your Again" from 'Bitter Sweet'; an attractive love ballad in which Daneman participates. Also from the same musical, the unusual and entertaining 'Zigeuner' that I can recall enjoying so much many years ago when my Grandmother, who was quite an accomplished singer, sang many many times. It's really charming even today!
A quote by Bostridge (prior to making this recording) from an ABC interview: "My first concern, while contemplating a disc of Noel Coward songs, was finding a voice for them....We need to remember that in Coward, we have not only a formidable playwright and screenwriter, but also the English equivalent of Irving Berlin or Cole Porter...". After I heard this broadcast my appreciation for the recording, when it did appear, was more than acceptable.
Do I prefer Bostridge singing classical music? YOU BET! But one should not agnore the great artistry and the great voice involved in producing this quality recording. (It comes with pertinent information and a complet text.)