SING JOYOUS BIRD: Love Ballads of the Early 1900s.
ANN HODGES, soprano, LINDA
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.