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War's Embers - Songs from World War 1

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, 29 Aug 1997
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Product details

  • Performer: Martyn Hill, Clifford Benson, Stephen Varcoe, Michael George
  • Composer: William Charles Denis Browne, George Butterworth, Ernest Farrar, Gerald Finzi
  • Audio CD (29 Aug. 1997)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Hyperion Dyad
  • ASIN: B000002ZER
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,560 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Requiem da Camera: Only A Man Harrowing Clods
  2. In Flanders
  3. Ha'nacker Mill
  4. Black Stitchel
  5. By A Brierside
  6. Blaweary
  7. The Twa Corbies
  8. The Fiddler Of Dooney
  9. Goodnight To The Meadow
  10. Severn Meadows
  11. Vagabond Songs, Op. 10: The Wanderer's Song Op. 10 No. 1
  12. Vagabond Songs, Op. 10: Silent Noon
  13. Vagabond Songs, Op. 10: The Roadside Fire Op. 10 No. 3
  14. Hawk And Buckle
  15. The Ship 'The Elizas'
  16. Orpheus
  17. Tears
  18. Under The Greenwood Tree
  19. Sleep
  20. Spring

Disc: 2

  1. Arabia
  2. The Boat Is Chafing
  3. Cathleen Ni Houlihan
  4. Edward, Edward
  5. The Night Of Trafalgar
  6. Even Such Is Time
  7. Thou Didst Delight My Eyes
  8. Most Holy Night
  9. Diaphenia
  10. Brittany Op. 21 No. 1 - Two Pasorals
  11. Come You, Mary Op. 21 No. 2
  12. Who Would Shepherd Pipes Op. 21 No. 3
  13. Shall I Compare Thee?
  14. You Are My Sky
  15. Last Hours
  16. To Violets
  17. Nine Of The Clock
  18. Epitaph In Old Mode
  19. Epitaph On Salathiel Pavy
  20. Requiescat
  21. To Gratiana Dancing And Singing

Product description

HYP 22026; HYPERION - Inghilterra;

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Format: Audio CD
This collection rightly contains a majority of songs by Ivor Gurney. Although it bears the title "Wars Embers", as did the volume of Gurney poetry which was published in 1919,there is no heavy gloom to struggle through here . Only in the Gurney setting of John Masefield's " By a Bierside" is there a hint of despair at the effect of war on a lost generation. It is remarkable that Gurney composed this while in the trenches . The breadth of Gurney's range is astonishing; from the bleak
"The Twa Corbies" to the spritely "The Fiddler of Dooney", or " Even Such Is Time " ( Sung ,surely, by Stephen Varcoe) to the yearning tones of " In Flanders" ,his poet's ear serves music's cause with unerring accuracy. The other composers are worthy enough companions; that they perished in the War was tragedy enough. Gurney survived, that he did so and not others whom he respected and admired may have had some effect in hastening his psychological deterioration by intense feelings of guilt or a sense of failure. And he did compose some of his best works in the early 1920s before his committal to Mental Hospital in 1922. Thereafter were but brief glimpses of the powers that produced some of the most idiosyncratic musical expressions of the 20th Century.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.6 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars great music - bad singer 19 Jun. 2002
By T. Johns - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a SHAME!!! This is one of the only recordings that I know of featuring the 4 songs of William Denis Browne... played very well by Stephen Varcoe - but sung terribly by Martin Hill. Much like the collection of Michael Tippett vocal music, Mr. Hill seems to scream his way through most everything he sings.
Someone must like him, he's signed to Hyperion, and they usually choose such wonderful singers... but not this time. Let's just pray that Ian Bostridge or John Mark Ainsley will be asked to sing this wonderful repertoire... and we can use these discs as coasters!
The baritone, Michael George, does a commentable job with the Gurney songs - sometimes a bit swallowed and throaty.
I am not saying do not buy this recording... It's music that we should know and learn. But, this way we arent in the least tempted to simply immitate what we hear. You'll know you could sing it better, trust me.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic recording 7 July 2005
By Pamela Blevins - Published on
Format: Audio CD
War's Embers draws its title from composer-poet Ivor Gurney's second volume of poetry written at the Front. Conceived by Joy Finzi, the widow of composer Gerald Finzi, it features songs by composers who fought in World War I with the exception of Finzi whose teacher Ernest Farrar died two months before the war ended. The 2-CD collection features Farrar, Gurney, George Butterworth, Denis Browne and Frederick Kelly, the latter two being friends of the poet Rupert Brooke. Brooke died on the way to Gallipoli where Browne was killed in June 1915. This important recording brings together a fine collection of songs, including four by Denis Browne whose reputation stands on this handful of songs. (There are others that might some day be recorded). For many years it was assumed that Ivor Gurney, who spent the last 15 years of his life in an asylum, was a shell-shocked victim of the war. This is not true. Gurney suffered from a severe manic-depressive disorder that had first shown symptoms when he was in his teens. He actually flourished during the war, writing four songs that are considered masterpieces (listen to In Flanders, By A Bierside, Severn Meadows and Even such is Time), producing enough poetry for two volumes of poetry and writing hundreds of letters to his friends, primarily to musicologist-critic Marion Scott. George Butterworth, who was killed in the Battle of the Somme, was a good friend of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Finzi is represented by Only A Man Harrowing Clods (a setting of Thomas Hardy) from his Requiem da Camera, which he wrote in memory of Farrar. The performances by Martyn Hill, tenor, Stephen Varcoe, baritone, and Michael George are excellent and heartfelt. Hill was one of the first singers to record Gurney's songs. War's Embers is a must-buy CD for anyone interested in 20th English song.
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