good selection of some charming Elgar songs.
sings with sensitivity and conviction, and is particularly
effective in In Moonlight
, in which Elgar
sets Shelley’s poem to the Canto popolare
his overture In the South
. It is lovely to hear
the melody in this version, and it is beautifully sung.
I was not quite so convinced by Neil Mackie who, to my
ear, employs a bit too much vibrato, and whose voice has
a slight edge to it – robust but not beautiful, and with
a slightly rough timbre. It seems to me that Mackie would
be perfect for Gilbert and Sullivan, but does not really
have the refinement and elegance needed for these songs.
In The River
, for example, the words are
not as clear as they could be, and Through
the long days
, lacks the force of conviction,
as if the singer does not have the full measure of the
however, is the real star of the show. He gives really
musical, and intelligent, performances of these works.
He captures perfectly the nuances and the inflections of
the text. He understands the poems and communicates the
words effectively, bringing the music to life. He does
not just sing effortlessly, but tells the stories, and
draws the listener in. Listen, for example, to The
Pipes of Pan
where he combines that beautiful
tone of his with passion, sincerity and spirit (as in The
wind at dawn).
Martineau, the accompanist, does a fine job, with, for
example, a lovely, delicate accompaniment to The
Pipes of Pan
the whole, this is a good disc. All the singers perform
well, although I do feel that Maltman is the real communicator
and that he reaches out to the audience with the tales,
whereas Mackie - and, to a lesser extent, Wyn-Rogers -
just sing nicely. The songs have been well chosen to include
a range of moods from the incredibly atmospheric Twilight
to the spirited and almost Schubertian Arabian Serenade
. Certainly of interest to
lovers of English song.
see also review by Jonathan Woolf