One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             



Buywell Just Classical

Love Me Sweet – Songs of love through the ages
Giulio CACCINI (1551-1618)
Amarilli, mia bella [3.21]
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643)
Se l’aura spira [1.30]
John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Sorrow, stay [3.39]
Can She Excuse My Wrongs? [2.17]
A Shepherd in a Shade [1.57]
Carl VINE (b.1954)
Love Me Sweet [2.35]
Roger QUILTER (1877-1953)
Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal Op.3/2 [2.10]
Music, When Soft Voices Die Op.25/5  [1.41]
Barbara Allen [3.45]
Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes [2.44]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Auf Flügeln des Gesanges Op.34/2 [2.46]
Max REGER (1873-1916)
Maria Wiegenlied Op.76 No.52 [2.01]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Mit einem gemalten Band Op.83 No.3  [2.16]
Ivor GURNEY (1890-1937)
Sleep [2.53]
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
The Sky above the Roof [2.31]
Peggy GLANVILLE-HICKS (1912-1990)
Come Sleep [2.06]
Samuel BARBER (1910-1981)
The Daises Op.2/1 [0.53]
Robert JOHNSON (c. 1583-1633)
As I Walked Forth [3.21]
Full Fathom Five [1.32]
Where the Bee Sucks [0.56]
Reynaldo HAHN (1875-1947)
Reverie [2.40]
A Chloris [2.57]
Jane Edwards (soprano)
Marshall McGuire (harp)
rec. St.Scholastica’s Chapel, Glebe, Sydney, February 1999
ABC CLASSICS 476 9108 [52.35]


Jane Edwards and Marshall McGuire are both experienced musicians and they here collaborate on the harpist’s own arrangements of some well-known repertoire. Around half is by English composers, ancient and more modern; there is a brace of aria antiche, a trio of Germanic songs (Mendelssohn, Reger, Beethoven), a solitary Barber, a Carl Vine, a Glanville-Hicks to fly the Australian flag, and two Hahns to end with Gallic finesse. This is all well and good but the listener will query the harp arrangements. Isn’t there something just a touch, well, just a touch nineteenth century about it all? Doesn’t it smack a little of drawing rooms and crinoline?

I suppose the answer lies in the effectiveness of the arrangements or otherwise. These ones are effectively and often affectionately done. The Caccini is nicely limpid and Edwards’s runs are well taken. The Dowland songs give opportunities for McGuire to employ lute imitation and for Edwards to lavish some fruity vibrato on Can She Excuse My Wrongs? Hardly a Kirkby performance but then Dowland is too important a composer to leave to the specialists. Vine’s Love Me Sweet is simple and romantic.

When it comes to the Quilter settings one could raise some objections. Maybe there’s not too much one should do with Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal – I certainly don’t enjoy Bryn Terfel blundering around the undergrowth of these kinds of songs in his size ten boots - but I think with a piano accompanist Edwards might vary the colour in her voice more. There’s certainly room for a greater degree of word painting than she tries. Barbara Allen also shows another side of the equation, the harp encouraging rather slower speeds than one normally encounters with the piano.

Reger’s song is rather attractive but she overdoes and overbalances Gurney’s Sleep. Glanville-Hicks sets the same John Fletcher poem very charmingly if not very deeply. The Robert Johnson songs are analogous to the Dowland in these arrangements but we end with a sample of her French repertoire. A Chloris is something of a masterpiece of French song and it makes for a splendid close.

Altogether this is a difficult one to recommend. You’ll doubtless have these songs in their normal guise. With resonant sound – but full texts – this offers up more a calling card for the performers and an interesting if somewhat uneven programme.

Jonathan Woolf


Buywell Just Classical




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.