There are twenty-seven tracks on this disc of which
all but one is a folksong
Griffett's voice, plaintively shaped falls lithely
enough between those of Ian Partridge and Gerald English. He lacks vibrato
... thank the heavens. Listen to the exultantly steady diminuendo
he spins at the end of Griffett's own arrangement of The Turtle Dove.
He is accompanied by guitar in Lovely Joan, Sailor Boy (quite
jazzy), The Grey Cock and The Oak and the Ash. In Benjamin
Bowmaneer Griffett is sturdy and heroically ringing. He imparts
a touch of Farewell and adieu to ye fair Spanish maidens to the
song. The Hispanic contours and curls of the guitar part reflect
that as they do also in Master Kilby. Griffett is unaccompanied
in She mov'd thru the fair, Salley Gardens and Turtle
Dove. His voice falters rarely for example in the unkindly testing
While Charles Vale's arrangement of Scarborough
Fair might have benefited from a slight touch on the accelerator
Timothy Walker's transcription of PMD's Farewell to Stromness is
a resounding success. This is one of the finest tracks here - an Orcadian
pavane - very fitting in the present company.
As for the Britten arrangement of Bonny at morn
it is delightful to hear this music liberated by Griffett from the bray
that we were induced at one time to believe was the only acceptable
orthodoxy. Griffett is in sturdy and ringing voice in The shooting
of his dear. He seems also to revel in the Grainger-like jauntiness
of The Soldier and the Sailor. A choice track is the pavane-paced
Black is the colour of my true love's hair. Listen to the way
he colours and relishes the words passing fair. The disc ends
in the upbeat frivolity of Strawberry Fair taken at a very smart
Griffett is admirable though sometimes his accent is
just a little too civilised and English. Far better this though
than the affected ‘mummerset’ sometimes encountered.
The sung words are not printed although there is a
pretty full general background essay on folk song.
Hearing this attractive collection I do hope that Griffett
can he be inveigled into taking the solo tenor role in Finzi's Dies
Natalis or better yet Intimations of Immortality.
This disc presents intelligent, confident and flavoursome
singing and playing. The aim and the achievement is delight.
see also review
by Robert Farr
If you like Griffett's voice you might like to track down the following
RRC 1023 Victorian Gentleman's Songbook review
RRC 1083 Edwardian Gentleman's Songbook review
RRC 1054 Britten folksong arrangements
RRC 1092 Irish tenor ballads review
RRC 1057 What is Life? review