> Howard Goodall - We Are The Burning Fire [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Sept 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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We Are The Burning Fire - songs on a small planet

Polignala e Todora (Bulgaria)
A la Nanita Nana (Spain)
Tina Singhu (Lesotho)
Asikhatali (South Africa)
Allunde Allunde (East Africa)
Blow the Wind Southerly (Scotland)
Bium Bium Bamba (Iceland)
Röslein Röslein (Germany)
Waly Waly (England)
Pecche non duorme? (Naples)
Dormi Dormi (Calabria)
Tutu Maramba (Brazil)
Rosla Kalina (Poland)
Adieu, la Belle (France)
Kou jou-no-tsuki (Japan)
The Lark in the Clear Air (Eire)
She moved through the Fair (Eire)
Choir of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford/Stephen Darlington
Chamber Orchestra of London
Howard Goodall (instrumentals)
METRONOME MET CD 1040 [68.38]

Howard Goodall has found a champion in Metronome who host several of his TV Programme spin-off CDs.

Goodall began collecting these songs while touring the world for two of his Channel 4 (UK) TV series: 'Howard Goodall's Organ Works' and 'Howard Goodall's Choirworks'.

Goodall's arrangements employ apt though not hackneyed instrumentals which always help place the folksong. Among the players is John Harle - a prince among saxophonists.

Polegnala is rounded and ruffled by slow surges of sound. Over it all floats the dulcimer's instrumental. The dulcimer is an instrument characteristic of Thrace. Nanita Nana is charmingly done although I have difficulty with the breathiness of the treble.

The Three African Songs are percussive and rhythmic. Perceptively Waly Waly only appears after a long shivery preamble and Blow the Wind Southerly has a 'foreword' in which Jacqui Cryer reads the shipping forecast. There is an incantatory music in speaking aloud the names of the sea areas around the British Isles. The skein of sound is synthesised - all cocooned sweetness and long-held notes with a touch of celtic 'flutery'. In Waly Waly the singers swallow their words at this speed - far too quick a pulse.

Then we sally northwards to Iceland and the catchy Bium Bium Bamba which ensnares arctic sea sounds: seagull cries and a jack tar (or Icelandic equivalent) accordion.

Henry Bennett manages Röslein Röslein, that exemplar of intimate German romanticism, extremely well. The words are by Heine and the tune by Heinrich Werner. After two drowsy lullabies tracked as one comes Tutu maramba - quick, athletic and undrowsy.

Rosla kalina is one of the highlights of the disc. It is full of yearning desire for homeland and is lovingly arranged. Bennett is a star here though still unable to shake off the tremor in his voice.

Goodall is the composer of the music for that runaway success, The Snowman. The setting of the Japanese folksong deploys dulcimer and tiny bells to the same moving effect. Very atmospheric.

The Lark in the clear air comes across as rather heartless andthe clouded enunciation does not help much either. She moved through the fair receives a sensitive and imaginative treatment with recordings of birdsong and, once again, a treble solo. Irish Gaelic is whispered at us all to add to the frissson. Try track 14 2.08 onwards. The River Dance generation will love this.

This disc can be enjoyed by children and adults. It would have been nicer yet if the words had been provided in the booklet.

Rob Barnett

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