Sarah Connolly received excellent reviews for her recital performance of English Songs on 11 April 2011 at the Alice Tully Hall in New York. The New York Times wrote: Ms Connolly s voice was strong and steady through its range, velvety, but with a soft, subtle graininess that gave weight and presence to even her most ethereal floated notes. Here the mezzo-soprano, accompanied by Malcolm Martineau on piano, performs four arrangements by Benjamin Britten: three folk songs and one song from an early choral work. These complement the recent Britten CD on Chandos, on which Connolly performs the cantata Phaedra as well as A Charm of Lullabies (CHAN 10671). Next come eleven songs from the 1920s, which is considered the golden decade for English art songs. Among the highlights are By a Bierside, Ivor Gurney s stark reflection on death, written in the World War I trenches, and Herbert Howells s King David which has long been considered a masterpiece. Howells himself said: I am prouder to have written King David than almost anything else of mine. The most recent contribution to this disc of English Songs is the surreally retro A History of the Thé Dansant by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, which was published in 1995.
Her singing is consistently beautiful in this programme of English songs,encompassing Britten folk-song arrangements and Richard Rodney Bennett's bluesy history of the The Dansant,taking in some of the loveliest lyrical outpourings of Herbert Howells,John Ireland,Ivor Gurney and Michael Head.Connolly is arguably the natural successor to Janet Baker. --Gramophone awards issue '11
Connolly brings the simplicity and veiled ardour which is of their essence. Performance **** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine,Dec'11
Connolly and Martineau make an impressive double act. Her voice has such a pleasing weight and texture.**** --Classic fm Magazine,Dec'11
In short,Connolly and her supersensitive accompanist,Malcom Martineau,ideally recorded,are throughout simply ideal in this treasurable repertoire. --IRR,Oct'11
Sarah Connolly sings immaculately,with sensitive accompamiment from Malcolm Martineau,in sound both clear and perfectly balanced. --Gramophone,Jan'12