Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Harold CRAXTON (1885-1971)
1. The Plaint of Love (from a Lute Book, c. 1535).
Freely transcribed by Harold Craxton. Pianoforte.
2 Two Almans by Richard Johnson,
transcribed by Harold Craxton. Violoncello and pianoforte.
3 O mistress mine (Shakespeare). Baritone and pianoforte.
4 Meditation (Vita in ligno moritur) (from a Lute Book, c. 1530).
Freely arranged by Harold Craxton. Pianoforte.
5 A Maske by Giles Farnaby,
transcribed by Harold Craxton. Violoncello and pianoforte.
6 It was a lover and his lass (Shakespeare). Soprano and pianoforte.
7 Siciliano and Rigadon (c. 1735).
Freely transcribed by Harold Craxton. Pianoforte.
8 Sonata in B flat by T. A. Arne,
transcribed by Harold Craxton. Violoncello and pianoforte.
9 A Requiem (R. L. Stevenson). Baritone and pianoforte.
10 Woodland Lullaby. Pianoforte.
11 Oh! To see the Cabin Smoke (P. J. O'Reilly). Soprano and pianoforte.
Two Mazurkas. Pianoforte.
12. 1. F minor.
13. 2. D flat major.
14. Beloved, I am lonely (May Aldington). Baritone and pianoforte.
15. Mavis (Lefevre). Baritone and pianoforte.
16. A Shepherdess in Porcelain. Pianoforte.
Two Pastoral Preludes. Pianoforte.
17. 1. Heather Bells.
18. 2. Bird Song ("I love my love and my love loves me").
19. Hearts in Love (Edward Oxenford). Soprano and pianoforte.
20. The Snowdrop (Norman Gale). Soprano and pianoforte.
21. A Tahitian Dance (founded upon native rhythms). Pianoforte.
22. Bourrée Humoresque (founded on an 18th Century tune). Pianoforte.
Soprano: Caroline Goodwin
Baritone: James McOran Campbell
Violoncello: Alison Moncrieff Kelly
Piano: Christopher Howell.
Rec Craxton Studios, London, June 2000

Details contact:

If the end result is anything to go by considerable thought went into the selection and sequencing of these short pieces. The music itself is variable from the not so desperately interesting (e.g. the arrangement of a cello sonata by Arne and the Two Almans) to the title track Plaint of Love which is given a very romantic overlay almost as if transcribed by Rachmaninov. The Meditation is similarly inclined though not as intense. The Two Mazurkas are serious little pieces - neatly turned. The freshly executed Bourrée Humoresque is delightfully rapped out while A Shepherdess In Porcelain suggests all the fragile gentility associated with its Ketèlbeyan title. The sentimental Siciliano and Rigadon bring memories of sixties French film music while Woodland Lullaby is redolent of Macdowell's woodland blooms. I liked the mesmeric Tahitian Dance which, avowedly, is founded on native rhythms. It has the air of Norman Peterkin's elusive oriental suites (now there's a recording project for Mr Howell!) crossed with the Godowsky Java Suite. The Farnaby Maske boast greater interest than the other arrangements of 'antiquitie'. The Two Pastoral Preludes for solo piano offer an impressionistic Heather Bells with the lightest skirling tartan touches and Bird Song which is lovely pictorial piece with deftly challenging harmonies - think Finzi in the Grand Fantasia.

Beloved I Am Lonely is excellent with well thought out word definition and a sentimental but never cloying approach. The song deserves to have wider currency. O Mistress Mine shows off the baritone's sturdy qualities and darkly virile colouring - a John Shirley-Quirk in the making. Caroline Goodwin in It Was Lover And His Lass is a very characteristic setting in an edition by Chris Howell. Certainly the material is less twee than Oh To See The Cabin Smoke which is to my ears rather limp salon material - a step down from MacDowell. The same can be said of The Snowdrop with its twee bells and of Mavis - all very 'piano stool'. In A Requiem, by Stevenson, we are again into strong word setting though the singer's mournful tone is rather overdone. He does however have a very nicely judged line in variegated gradation of dynamics - not following the obvious line. The setting of Edward Oxenford's Hearts In Love is distinguished by skilled word-setting and challenging and intriguing tonality in the repeated bell motif.

The piano is sympathetically played by Chris Howell but the instrument does not evince a very generous tone. Mr Howell to whom this project owes a great deal is a welcome and constant presence throughout each of these pieces.

The notes are very full with the sung texts and comprehensive full track-listings and timings are provided.

Rob Barnett

See also Christopher Howell's profile of Harold Craxton


There's now a Craxton website and the address is: Apart from info about the Memorial Trust, the CD, Chris Howell's notes for the CD, catalogue of musical works it also has two extracts from Craxton's unfinished, unpublished autobiography and a memoir of Janet Craxton by Denis Matthews.

Craxton Studios, 14 Kidderpore Ave, London NW3 7SU. Orders for the CD can be placed with the Craxton Studios for £12.00 per CD price incl of post/packing.


You can find more information about the Trust from:-

Jane Craxton

15 Cambridge Road

North Uxbridge

Middx UB8 1BQ

or email to

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