Customer Review

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kenneth McKellar, the great lyric Scottish tenor at his peak, 9 Nov 2002
This review is from: The Decca Years 1955-1975 (Audio CD)
Kenneth McKellar, the great lyric Scottish tenor at his peak,
Reviewer: Ricardo Munro from San Joaquin Valley, California, USA
Kenneth McKellar, who is still pleasant to listen to for his wit, artistry and excellent diction was at his peak in his Decca years. He was best known for his Scottish songs in a classical "John Mccormack Style" but he crossed over very successfully into popular music, light classics and operatic arias. He sang in Italian, German, French and Welsh as well as Scots and English. Until recently these recordings from 1955-1975 have been unavailable(when his voice was at its peak of power and charm). Fiddler on the Roof SUNRISE SUNSET is superb and West Side Story's MARIA is the best and most tasteful recording I have ever heard. Of course, the majority of the recordings are traditional Scottish songs of the lowlands and Highlands (with a good number of Kennedy-Fraser , Kenneth MacLeod adaptations). My only disappointment really is that some of his best Irish recordings are not here nor his foray into Welsh.
McKellar of course came from another generation when Scots tried to out English the English so his Gaelic is very small. Late in her career he sang a few Gaelic choruses but mostly he sang late 19th century and early 20th century translations of the Big Songs.
But as an interpreter of the Songs of Burns and the Scots Musical Museum (the Lowland Scots tradition) McKellar was without peer. If you can get his KISMET recording. It is just great. I don't think he ever made a bad album although SOMETIMES his pop material is thin. His classical performances are ALWAYS first class. I just wish he had made more classical recordings in his prime.
I hope this is just the beginning of the reissuing the great recordings of one of the great tenors that 20th century Britain has produced. Any lover of the art songs or the "big songs" of the Celtic Fringe will find a movable feast in the artistry of Kenneth McKellar the man known for many years as "Scotland's First tenor" .
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Oct 2009 22:12:59 BDT
K. A. James says:
Adrian Boult knew McKellars abilities. KM shines in the Messiah most remembered for Bumbry and Sutherland. Their collaboration on "McKellar: Handel Songs & Arias" persuaded me that this was the voice Handel had in mind. "Did you not see my lady" is so full of teenage angst that a 'greater' tenor would have missed - KM communicates it admirably.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Mar 2010 03:55:55 GMT
Yes there is no question that we are blessed to have KM's Handel Arias and the Messiah. "Did you not see my lady" is indeed a masterpiece. But it is in his Burns and Lowland songs that his intepretations are unsurpassed.
"Mary Morison", "The Nameless Lassie", "Rowan Tree"
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