Save around 22%
with these retailers
SIR CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD: Complete Songs Vol.
Stephen Varcoe: baritone,
Clifford Benson: piano.
Hyperion CDA67123 78m
Another splendid issue devoted to English song comes along and it is my pleasure
to report that Hyperion's usual standard in this repertoire remains constantly
splendid. We have some of Stanford's finest settings here from the classic
'La Belle Dame sans merci' to the merry 'Trottin to the Fair'. That latter
song had already appeared on an old Hyperion LP and is comfortably snuggled
in another splendid reissue of Stanford songs on the Campion Cameo label.
But I shall not be impertinent to state that Varcoe and Benson comfortably
outclass that recording in this well filled issue. The Eight Heine songs
Op. 4 and 7 are filled with a wonderful zest and richness that makes you
feel good to be alive! I also enjoyed the even rarer 'Glens of Atrim' songs
by Moira O' Neill, extremely sensitive and at times erotic texts matched
by some peerlessly constructed music. 'The Spanish Gypsy' by George Eliot
is probably the masterpiece on disc, both for its continuously inspired lyricism
and for the qualitative musical ideas that match the text. It is also safe
to report that Varcoe reserves great dashes of unhallowed emotion for these
richly romanticized pieces. Stanley's 'The Tomb' is also colourful, the
premonitions of death rather 'Khorassan' like in their almost farcical solemnity.
A clear intimate recording made in Rosslyn Hill Chapel enables both singer
and pianist to provide us with a near perfect rendering of their inspirational
camaderie and this is matched by a suitably thick booklet containing
full texts and Jeremy Dibble's masterly annotations that greatly enrich our
knowledge of this beautiful repertoire. I cannot but give a wholehearted
and earnest recommendation to this starting point of what looks to be another
treasurable English song project.
See also review by
review of Volume 2
Reviews from previous
Reviews carry sales links but you
can also purchase from: