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Bryn Terfel - Simple Gifts
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791)

Ave Verum Corpus [3’05"]
Traditional AMERICAN

Deep River [5’12"]
John RUTTER (b. 1945)

The Lord Bless You and Keep You [2’46"]
Alan MURRAY (1890 – 1952)

I’ll Walk Beside You [2’34"]
Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710 – 1736)

Stabat Mater Dolorosa [4’01"]
Traditional AUSTRIAN

Still, Still, Still [4’06"]
Joseph BRACKETT, JR. (1797 – 1892)

Simple Gifts [3’12"]
Traditional SWEDISH

How Great Thou Art [4’51"]
César FRANCK (1822 – 1890)

Panis Angelicus [3’41"]
Mae H. BRAHE (1885 – 1956)

Bless This House [2’22"]
Karl JENKINS (b. 1944)

Ave Verum Corpus [3’20"]
Stanley MYERS (1930 – 1993)

She Was Beautiful (Cavatina) from The Deerhunter [3’05"]
Amanda McBROOM (b. 1946)

The Rose [3’42"]
James P. CARRELL (1787 – 1854)

Amazing Grace [4’02"]
W. S. Gwynn WILLIAMS (1896 – 1978)

Mae Ehangder (God’s Mercy) [3’05"]
Traditional GAELIC

Morning Has Broken [2’30"]
Lowell MASON (1792 – 1872)

Nearer My God To Thee [3’54"]
J. S. BACH (1685 – 1750) arr. GOUNOD
Ave Maria [2’35"]
Stephen SONDHEIM (b. 1930)

Send In The Clowns [4’54"]
William G. TOMER (1833 – 1896)

God Be With You [2’56"]
Bryn Terfel (baritone)
London Voices (Mozart: Ave verum corpus; Deep River; The Lord Bless You and Keep You; Still, Still, Still; How Great Thou Art; The Rose; God be with You)
John Williams, guitar (She Was Beautiful); Aled Jones (tenor) (Panis Angelicus); Simon Keenlyside (Stabat Mater; Jenkins: Ave verum corpus)
London Symphony Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth.
rec. London: Air Studios/Air Lyndhurst, June 2005. DDD
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 5919 [70.23]

Yet another crossover disc from Bryn Terfel and his mates here brilliantly produced and recorded for DG.

The company must be very pleased, as this disc is bound to sell a very large number of copies swelling the coffers of both DG and Terfel. Recorded in the confines of a studio it is the type of disc that suits Terfel’s voice. It permits him to sing quietly and avoids strain on the voice, which at this level of stress, is a very beautiful instrument. It is on the opera stage, where he has to project that this glorious voice is often reduced to shouting, where the pitch goes completely awry, very noticeable in his unfortunate televised Wagner performances on television, transmitted earlier this year, which at times were quite painful.

Nothing like that here – all is sweetness and light, and many of the pieces are given performances to die for. The accompanying artists are of a similar calibre and DG have arranged for the London Symphony Orchestra to accompany with their customary aplomb. They are conducted ably by Barry Wordsworth.

The repertoire here is largely predictable except for a "new piece for Bryn by Karl Jenkins". This is a very twee introduction for a completely unmemorable piece which is probably likely to get far more air time than it deserves; I wonder if the wicked laws of commercialism are at work.

This disc is likely to be exposed on Classic FM ad infinitum ad nauseam, as all of the pieces are under five minutes and are of the type beloved of this National Treasure of the airwaves.

The only vaguely discomfiting feature of the disc is the image of our hero who appears in his scruffy look, even when in a suit. Still, fans of the singer will love this as much as the disc, which clearly did relatively little for me. Make no mistake there is glorious singing on offer here but in a most uncharacteristic cloying manner driven by the repertoire more than anything else.

Highly recommended for fans of Terfel the pop singer; not recommended at all for fans of Terfel the opera singer.

John Phillips



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