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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2003
It is beyond any doubt, in my mind, that Terfel is the foremost lieder (and Especially English song) baritone of his, or any generation. His ability to combine expressive word communication with such a strong sence of line and structure is unparalleled. Listen to both 'The Vagabond' and 'Whither must I wander?' and you will surely marvel at the way strophic song can be given such a varied and dynamic reading. Terfel's control of dynamics, from his legendary forte to his, arguably, more famous pianissimo is so moving that I find myself unable to listen to anything else for days on end. As a student of composition I have a wide interest in classical music, but I can safely say that there is no other recording, that I either own or that I have ever heard, that gives me such long lasting and such profound pleasure. To leave this on the shelf is a personal affront to Tefel, Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Butterworth and Ireland, not to mention to myself!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2000
Amongst the genre of Piano accompanied songs, there are very few recordings that come close to the depth, sparkle, and atmosphere contained upon this this CD. Not only is Bryn Terfel found at his zestful, storytelling best, but also, Malcolm Martineau offers a beautifully sensitive and expressive accompaniment, with the result that each track glows with a warm, shimmering light of its own - quite a revelation fore someone who didn't previously enjoy lieder!
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I'm a great lover of English Song and have devoted several reviews to it on the Amazon website.

This particular disc strikes me as being a near perfect selection, featuring three of the great British song cycles and three songs from another undoubted master of the genre.

The disc begins with Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Songs of Travel", setting of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, and is followed by Gerald Finzi's Shakespeare setting, "Let Us Garlands Bring", a work dedicated, incidentally, to Vaughan Williams. There follows three songs by John Ireland, all settings of poems by John Masefield and including the very well known "Sea Fever" and "The Vagabond". The CD ends with George Butterworth's marvellous setting of A.E. Housman's "A Shropshire Lad".

Although Bryn Terfel is a celebrated exponent of British Song (it was, after all, the Song Prize that he won all those years ago at the Cardiff Singer of the World), I half expected his big bass-baritone to be perhaps a "bit much" for this music, but I could not have been more wrong; it is wondrous to hear how effectively he fines down his huge instrument in some of the songs and his singing throughout is, I would suggest, well nigh perfect. Moreover, when this recording was made in 1995, his voice was at its very freshest.

He is accompanied, as is usual on his recordings, by Malcolm Martineau and again, he would be difficult to surpass.

This is a "must buy" disc for both lovers of English Song and newcomers to this repertoire.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2011
This is Bryn Terfel in his usual fine form. The whole CD is most enjoyable but I particularly love his rendition of 'Sea Fever'.
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on 11 April 2014
This is the second time I have bought this CD. On this occasion I am buying it as a present for a friend.

Bryn Terfel, although a Welshman, is at his best when singing English songs of the Edwardian period.

On this CD the songs I like best are those written by George Butterwoth based on poems by A E Housman.
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on 4 August 2013
The sheer artistry of Terfel and Martineau and rapport between both performers compels one to listen to and admire these powerful poems in their magical settings by V.W.,Finzi,Butterworth and Ireland.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2005
From the offset you can hear that this is an album that has been taken care over from the beggining, being a former music technology student it is some of the clearest recording i have heard, the piano comes alive unlike most more muddy recordings. Bryn one of my favourite singers also shines here with his artisty clearly on showing, and his vocal range matched only by his performance skills.
From personal choice i preffer the Vaughn Williams and Butterworth sections as i find them with more emotion than the often piano bassed Ireland, that is not to say that it is not of merit, Malcolm Martineau deserves his own CD.
Highlights are,
The Vagabond; a rough feel to this true walking song, much strenth and a gritty feel.
Let Beauty awake and The infinate Shining heavens:
particualy with the latter song, one gets a feel of floating high above, these are truley relaxing.
The last 3 songs of the album are emotionaly moving, coming only a short while befor Butterworths death in WWI, especialy 'the lads in thier hundred', these pieces said to be his epitath in song. beautiful to the last.
An album for any classical music lover.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2010
The cycle of 6 songs making up 'A Shropshire Lad, in Bryn's hands made me sob uncontrollably evoking as they do the loss of young lives to the 1st World War. The last track of by Butterworth is a prime example of contrast between two voices by the same Bryn Terfel.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2013
There is only one Bryn Terfel!! Have loved him since seeing him in the lead of Samson & Delilah at Covent Garden a few years ago.
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7 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2005
This CD contains work by some of my favourites, particularly the Finzi and the Vaughan Williams; and though it's the first Bryn Terfel album I've owned, he's always made a positive impression when I've seen him before.
But this CD is gloomy and depressive throughout. The accompaniments are uniformly leaden in tone, and Terfel's voice is poorly served. He attempts a wide range of pitch and of mood, but in the higher ranges, in the softer and gentler diction, he consistently sounds woolly and indistinct, only in the 'hearty' passages that fall in the middle of his range does his singing carry any conviction.
But the mood! If you have friends with depressive tendencies, keep this CD far from them. Much of the content is intrinsically dark, but even where there is hope and positivity, Terfel somehow turns it into meditation on the proximity of the grave.
Two stars because, even through the terrible recording, the mournful accompaniment, and the black moods, it remains apparent that Terfel does indeed have a voice. Even if he does here sound like a depressed coloratura condemned to be knocked down two octaves
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