£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



The Floral Dance, and other PETER DAWSON favourites
(Songs of the late 19th and early 20th Century)
The Floral Dance
(Moss)
Phil, the Fluter's Ball
(French)
Wandering the King's Highway
(L. Coward)
The Drum Major
(Newton)
Up from Somerset
(Sanderson)
She is Far from the Land
(Lambert)
The Vagabond
(Vaughan Williams)
Love could I only tell Thee
(Capel)
The Kerry Dance
(Molloy)
I'll walk beside You
(Murray)
Glorious Devon
(German)
Old Father Tham
es (O'Hogan)
The Holy City
(Adams)
That lucky Old Sun
(Smith)
Drake's Drum
- Songs of the Sea (Stanford)
A Bachelor Gay am I - Maid of the Mountains
(Tate/Fraser-Simpson)
I Travel the Road
(Thayer)
Danny Deever
(Damrosch)
The Lost Chord
(Sullivan)
On the Road to Mandalay
(Speaks)
Even Bravest Hearts - Faust
(Gounod)
Lament - Caractacus
(Elgar)
Gregory Yurisich (bass-baritone),
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, David Lloyd-Jones
Rec. Government House Ballroom, Hobart, Australia; June 1999
MELBA 301083
[77.37]

 

BBC's Friday Night is Music Night is the nearest we get nowadays to hearing songs of the late 19th and early 20th Century. Of the thousands of once-popular sheet music songs that can still be found in forgotten piano stools only a sprinkling of modern recordings exist, and these are generally with piano accompaniment. Until now good orchestral settings have been thin on the ground. Peter Dawson recorded a number of songs with orchestra on 78rpm records, but their sometimes inferior quality has brought a need for modern orchestral recordings. (It is perhaps surprising that the BBC have not released items from their Friday Night programmes on the various BBC labels.)

An extra dimension is always given to song intended for the piano when played by an orchestra. Orchestration of early British songs was usually carried out by arrangers working internally for publishers like Boosey and Chappell who realised their intrinsic promotional value to enhance sheet music sales. The arrangements are rarely carried out by the composers yet it is likely that a publisher would have always sought their approval. The source of the excellent orchestrations for this modern recording is not mentioned in the notes but they are presumably traditional and are likely to have come from Boosey, Concord, or the BBC library.

Peter Dawson was a well-known bass-baritone who rose to fame in the twenties and thirties with many concert hall and BBC performances. Apart from making records in the acoustic recording days, he was remembered for providing early broadcasts for the Baird television system in the thirties and generally did much to accelerate sheet music sales in the popular songs he sang. It is reported that thirteen million of his records were pressed, he was so popular.

The selection on this CD are well chosen: they cover a wide range of composers and styles. The Floral Dance, The Kerry Dance and On the Road to Mandalay need no introduction. The orchestral arrangement for On the Road to Mandalay with its florid bridging section between verses is charming and calls for special mention. The Lost Chord is stunningly powerful and reminds us of the British Empire and images found in Mike Leigh's film, Topsy Turvey (on the lives of Gilbert & Sullivan).

There are many songs unfamiliar by name yet known in tune. The songs are sung with good clarity and delivered at a comfortably brisk pace. Lloyd-Jones keeps both singer and orchestra accurately in step. Although I am thankful that Waltzing Matilda wasn't included in the contents list, the absence of favourites like "Leanin'", "Come to the Fair" and "Excelsior" on this well-filled disc are noticed. It is an ideal CD to bring memories of yesteryear flooding back, and is also interesting to hear works of our forgotten British composers whose music regularly turns up in second-hand bookshops.

Full lyrics are provided in the booklet. It is difficult to decide from the contents list exactly who the librettist is and who the composer: sometimes the librettist appears first, and sometimes second. There are detailed notes on Dawson detailing his 1909-10 Australian tour rather than the songs themselves. (This disc, I should add, is produced in Australia).

Gregory Yurisich sings with style and precision. He resembles a Robson in timbre, wide compass and powerful delivery. Yurisich has much experience of Verdi and has a wide repertoire of grand opera, making appearances with the Royal Opera and English National Opera at Covent Garden and Edinburgh. His international tours include Hong Kong, Paris, Brussels, Geneva, Melbourne, Sidney and Washington.

David Lloyd-Jones, who began in 1959 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden needs no introduction: he founded Opera North in Britain and has since worked with Welsh National Opera and appeared at most major festivals.

The Melba label is new and provides a series of four excellent discs (two by Bonynge). One is Massenet arias and another is R. Strauss songs. A fourth is of British music of an earlier period than this disc, "The Power of Love" and contains arias of Balfe, Sullivan and W. V. Wallace see review.


Raymond Walker


 
Available in Australia and New Zealand. For UK availability, email: Raywalker@macunlimited.net



Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.