The latest volume (of seven projected in all) in this
important and comprehensive series is devoted to "parlour songs"
or ballads which form had its floreat period during the Victorian and
Edwardian eras. The repertoire on this CD stretches that historical
period at either end as the Dibdin and Braham date from well before
1837. Bless This House and If I Can Help were both published
well after the Great War, the latter indeed in 1945.
The disc seems to contain almost everybody’s favourite
high voice parlour songs and they are heard in the best possible light.
There is not a hint of parody or even overstatement and admirably clear
diction. These songs – and I am thinking particularly of The Death
of Nelson – still have the power to move us. There are a number
which are new, or almost new, to me, although they are all within the
same matrix: Annabelle Lee for instance, or Crossing the Bar,
or The Beggar Maid.
Henry Lamb was an American and in his Volunteer
Organist, in Dolores’ The Brook, perhaps in Claribel’s You
and I the temptation to "ham them up" must have been almost
irresistible (though these artistes do resist it). Yet the songs
by Frederick Clay, Liza Lehman and Maud Valerie White, in particular,
are sensitive imaginations and almost border on the "art song"
genre. Florence Aylward’s stirring Song of the Bow, to words
by Arthur Conan Doyle, reflects the patriotic feeling of its period
as do The Yeoman of England, The Old Superb and others.
Performances show admirable musicianship and sensitivity
on the part of both singer and accompanist. Recording and presentation
are again very good. I cannot really imagine anyone not deriving pleasure
from this disc – even if some might do so shamefacedly.
PRICE: Ł10.00 each, incl. p&p
The CD may also be obtained from:-
Gordon Pullin, Treakles, Kettlebaston, Suffolk,
Macdonald Music Services, 14 High Street, Steyning,
Audiosonic (Gloucester) Ltd, 6 College Street, Gloucester,