Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

SING JOYOUS BIRD: Love Ballads of the Early 1900s.

CD available (£10) from Miss Hodges, 15 Broxbourne, Herts EN10 7JG

This highly enjoyable disc presents 22 ballads from the period 1900-1933, gorgeously rounded, tuneful songs, delivered with accomplishment, commitment and obvious affection. Fourteen composers are represented, Montague Phillips by no fewer than five richly expansive songs including the little number (happily so, as he is still neglected on CD despite the recent British light music upsurge there), Herbert Oliver, Liza Lehman, Haydn Wood and Wilfrid Sanderson having two each, Landon Ronald, Godfrey Nutting (a name new to me but this is a catchy number, quite theatrical),Dorothy Forster, Ernest Longstaffe, H. Lyall Phillips, Maude Craske Day (her Tell Me Gypsy! Is another lively one), Percy Fletcher, Guy d'Hardelot and Eric Coates one each. Although these songs display a family likeness and are best listened to a few at a time, there is fair variety of mood. Herbert Oliver's The Dancing Lesson, Dorothy Forster's I Wonder if love is a Dream and Wilfrid Sanderson's Spring's Awakening are waltz songs (both Sanderson items afford attractive opportunities to Miss Hodge's coloration capability); Those by Haydn Wood and Lyall Phillips are more reflective. Few of the songs have been recorded in the LP/CD eras - perhaps only the title song and Coates Bird Songs at Eventide and Liza Lehman's There Are Fairies at the Bottom of Our (Not "the" as in the insert has it) Garden. Splendid singing, as I say, though the voice is at times a touch backwardly balanced; Linda Nottingham's accompaniment - and some of the piano writing, especially of Montague Phillips, Sanderson and Fletcher, is excellent - support admirably. There are riches here well worth investigating - "nature" looms quite as much as "love" in them.


Colin Scowcroft


Colin Scowcroft

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