Anthology Of English Song CD
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REG 1265; REGIS - Inghilterra; Classica Lirica Lied
Top Customer Reviews
... and what a repertoire! Here are some of the finest art songs in the English language, along with one or two that are certainly knocking on the door of such company. The programme begins with two familiar Vaughan Williams offerings - "The Call" (from Five Mystical Songs), and "Youth and Love" (from Songs of Travel), followed by two from John Ireland - "A Thanksgiving", and "Her Song" whose muted style corresponds well with Thomas Hardy's melancholy text. "A Piper", a sprightly Michael Head song to a text by Seamus O' Sullivan, may be less well-known to some listeners, but brings a welcome touch of Irish gaiety after the brooding melancholy of John Ireland, but the sombre mood returns with Armstrong Gibbs' "By a Bier-side" (to words by John Masefield). There is a well-known powerful setting of this text by Ivor Gurney, and Gibbs' effort, with its funereal rhythm in the piano, is hardly less impressive. His second offering here, "Love is a Sickness", is also a song of some standing.
Dunhill's "The Cloths of Heaven" (Yeats) is his best-known and most recorded song, so the chance to hear it sung by someone of Baker's class is welcome indeed. Lesser-known, but equally impressive, is the same composer's "To the Queen of Heaven".Read more ›
In this disc of early twentieth-century songs Janet Baker already showed that she would explore the lesser-known repertoire just as much as the well-known works. The composers Michael Head and Thomas Dunhill are hardly well-known even today, and Finzi and Howells were hardly ever heard in the early sixties.
As for the performances, there is nothing much to add to the comments of other reviewers here. They stand comparison with any other recordings of these or similar works, and in most cases excel. You may grumble that there is less than 45 minutes of music on the disc, but then that was the ten-and-sixpenny Saga LP. In any event such quality as this is priceless.
Regis has generously supplied notes on each composer by James Murray, and provided the texts of each poem or song. I first heard Janet Baker sing "King David" by Herbert Howells, with words by Walter de la Mare, on this record when it was first issued on Saga, back when I was twenty-two years old. I thought it was one of the most beautiful pieces of music I'd ever heard. Nearly fifty years later I have not changed my mind. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was some what disappointed with this. Probably the wrong choice on my part. Had heard, from a reputable source, what a fine clear voice she has and was curious to hear. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ratty