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Folk Songs and Ballads – Alfred Deller, the Complete Vanguard Records
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor) and others
No recording details
Full tracklist at end of review
VANGUARD CLASSICS MC193 [7 CDs: 78:19 + 44:32 + 74:13 + 60:47 + 56:12 + 66:38 + 61:01]
Experience Classicsonline


First a non-exhaustive but I think necessary introduction. Vanguard has embarked on an extensive re-issue programme here and plans to reissue the Complete Deller performances on this label in six multi-disc box sets. Needless to say I shall be alerting the powers-that-be at this site to prepare my orders forthwith. For the record they are, aside from this one; the Music of Henry Purcell, Christmas Carols and Motets, Music of Handel and Bach and the English Renaissance, Music of the French and Italian Renaissance and finally English, French and Italian Madrigals. Each box will come with what I assume – from the sole example here – will be a CD ROM with details of track listings and performers as well as reprints of the original liner notes and full texts. The printed booklet has track details and a very brief resume.

And now a few words about the tracks – words which are by no means exhaustive, merely an indication as to how Vanguard has gone about assembling the contents of these ten LPs on their seven CDs. The first CD collates all of the Vanguard ‘Bach Guild’ Catches, glees and other diverse entertainments of merrie England LP and adds items from the Tavern Songs disc, which it splits with volume two; there are three missing items and they will appear in the second box. A bit disappointing but perhaps it couldn’t be helped. In Disc 3 - derived from the LP The Three Ravens - we are missing the two lute solos. And from The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies disc we no longer have a number of items including those by the Taylor Recorder Consort, the Dolmetsch arranged consort pieces, the Fantasia on Polly Oliver and Gathering Peas. On disc 4 we have the Vaughan Williams arrangements and all are here. Western Wind is split between discs six and seven. The Cruel Mother, on disc 6, is intact. The Deller/Dupré performances from Vanguard’s ‘Bach Guild’ of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Music LP releases have been extracted; originally they were coupled with non-Deller consort performances.

A brief conclusion then as to the conundrum of how this has been achieved. I’m most sorry to have lost the Dupré lute solos. One appreciates that Deller was a silent partner but they have for so long now been imprinted on the consciousness of anyone familiar with the original LP or subsequent CD reissue that I would be hard pressed not to be churlish about their omission. Maybe we can have them reinstated at some point? I hope Vanguard will at least think about this.

The Catches disc might not be as well known as some others but you should hear it for the truly filthy Sir Walter as much as for the wistful beauty of An epitaph; ‘Under this stone’. There’s a witty Arne example from the Catches and Glees LP enshrined in this disc as well as a cosy parlour Joseph Barnby Sweet and Low. The Cries of London and Tavern Songs are much better mannered than one would ever expect to find on disc nowadays; if there’s a slight air of Ealing Comedy about it all then let me say that Ealing Comedy is my thing. April Cantelo has a beautiful voice, high and pure, but she’s not quite one’s idea of an oyster or orange seller. The third CD is my own personal favourite containing as it does The Three Ravens and The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies. Some of Deller’s most rapt and beautiful mid-period solo singing is contained here; the breath control, colour, legato, diction, the way he conveys sentiment, sorrow, elation, earthiness and courtly restraint. I can’t begin to enumerate my personal pantheon of greatness, just encourage you to acquaint yourself with them all. 

The VW arrangements are coupled with some lute songs on volume 4. I have to say that the arrangement of the lute songs over discs four, five and seven is rather frustrating. Still the Deller Consort certainly enjoys these warm VW arrangements and does them justice. Of perhaps more compelling interest are the lute songs in which Deller’s attention to detail, to the textual nuances and the dictates of rubati lend his performances a sense of malleable expression, of a truly lived experience; nothing metrical about these songs at all. One of the most notable performances is the song Me, me and none but me, which is here in two versions, one solo and one consort. The same imperatives drive the rubati, Deller’s imprint as firmly stamped on his consort performance as on the solo one. Sorrow Stay, from disc 5, is astonishingly stark – the range of attacks, colours and dynamics remarkable. Only very occasionally does one find oneself unsettled. In my case it concerns the excessive ornamenting of Have you seen but a white lilly Grow and the perhaps extreme rubati between verses in Come Again! When set against so much however that’s of marginal importance – and very much a matter of taste.

The discs seem to have transferred from commercial copies not master tapes. There’s residual LP rumble at very high volume but it’s not especially noticeable otherwise. Since some of the extensive Vanguard series has only achieved limited international release Deller admirers will cast envious eyes on these boxes. And, if we’re honest, critics too.

Jonathan Woolf

Full Tracklisting

Folk Songs and Ballads – Alfred Deller, the Complete Vanguard Records Volume One Tavern Songs - Catches and glees and other diverse entertainment of Merrie England

CD 1 A choice collection of the most diverting Catches, composed by Mr. Henry Purcell
Man is for the woman made [1:18]
Sir Walter [1:43]
To thee and to the maid [1:37]
Chiding catch ("Fie, Nay") [1:25]
Once, twice, thrice [2:45]
When the cock begins to crow [2:49]
An epitaph: "Under this stone" [1:57]
Earl of Mornington: T'was you, Sir [1:26]
Jeremy Savile: Had she not care enough [1:11]
William Turner: Young Anthony [1:37]
anon., publ. 1764: Amo, amas, I love a lass [1:46]
William Cornyshe: Ah, Robin [2:25]
William Lawes: Bess black [2:40]
Anon., publ. 1609: I am athirst [0:36]
John Eccles: Wine does wonder [2:35]
William Cornyshe: Hoyda, jolly rutterkin [2:24]
Henry Purcell: An ape, a lion, a fox and an ass [1:28]
Anon., coll. by Thomas Lant, 1580: Troll the bowl [1:18]
John Travers: Fair and ugly, false and true [2:38]
Anon., publ. 1614: We be soldiers three [1:42]
John Bennet: Hunting madrigal: Lure, falconers, lure! [1:36]
Henry Lawes: Sing fair Clorinda [3:35]
Benjamin Rogers: Restoration pastoral: In the merry month of May [1:45]
Henry Purcell: Patriotic song: True Englismen [1:33]
Reginald Spofforth: 18th century glee club: L'ape e la serpe [4:11]
The Deller Consort/Alfred Deller, director
Alfred Deller (countertenor), Gerald English (tenor), Wilfred Brown (tenor), Maurice Bevan (bass)
John Hilton: Call George again [1:16]
Luffman Atterbury: As t'other day [1:45]
Thomas Arne: The street intrigue [2:09]
John Blow: Batholomew Fair [1:37]
Anon.: He that will an alehouse keep [1:23]
John Blow: The self banished [2:34]
Anon.: Inigo Jones [1:43]
Thomas Arne: Which is the properest day to drink [1:53]
John Blow: Galloping Joan [1:28]
Anon.: Sumer is icumen in [1:46]
William Boyce: John Cooper [1:42]
Henry Lawes: The captive lovers [1:54]
Henry Purcell: Young Collin [2:14]
Henry Purcell: If all be true [1:17]
Joseph Barnby: Sweet and low [3:21]
The Deller Consort/Alfred Deller, director
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Edgar Fleet (tenor), Gerald English (tenor), Wilfred Brown (tenor), Owen Grundy (baritone), Maurice Bevan (bass)
CD 2 The Cries of London
John Cobb (ed. D. Stevens): These are the Cries of London Town [1:26]
Thomas Ravenscroft (ed. D. Stevens): New Oysters [0:54]
Richard Dering (ed. D. Stevens): The Cries of London [0:26]
Thomas Ravenscroft (ed. D. Stevens): A Bellman's song [0:52]
Anon.: New Oysters [1:13]
Anon.: The Painter's Song [2:21]
Savage: Muffins Ho! [1:16]
Richard Dering (ed. H. Purcell): Country Cries [6:01]
Anon. (ed. D. Stevens): A Quart a Penny [1:16]
Anon.: I Can Mend Your Tubs and Pails [1:12]
Edmund Nelham (ed. D. Stevens): Have You any Work for the Tinker [1:33]
Thomas Ravenscroft (ed. D. Stevens): Brooms for Old Shoes [2:10]
Thomas Weelkes (ed. J. Noble): The Cries of London [6:34]
Luffman Atterbury: One a Penny, Two a Penny [1:32]
 The Ambrosian Singers/Denis Stevens, conductor (1-2, 5, 7, 9-12)
The Deller Consort (3, 4-6, 8, 13-14)
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor, tr.4), April Cantelo (soprano, tr.13), Wilfred Brown (tenor, tr.6)
London Chambers Players/Alfred Deller, director
Granville Jones and James Barton (violn), Patrick Ireland and Kenneth Essex (viola), William Pleeth (cello)
William Lawes: She weepeth sore [2:11]
Henry Lawes: Angler's Song [1:07]
Jonathan Bartishill: Here on his back [2:21]
The Deller Consort
Alfred Deller (countertenor), Edgar Fleet (tenor), Gerald English (tenor), Wilfred Brown (tenor), Owen Grundy (baritone), Maurice Bevan (bass)
CD 3 The Three Ravens / The Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies
Anon.:
The Three Ravens [3:22]
The Cuckoo [1:44]
How Should I Your True Love Know (Ophelia's song from Hamlet) [1:43]
Sweet Nightingale [2:16]
I Will Give My Love an Apple [1:45]
The Oak and the Ash [2:23]
King Henry [2:43]
Coventry Carol [2:20]
Barbara Allen [2:10]
Heigh Ho, the Wind and the Rain ("Twelfth Night") [1:58]
Waly, Waly [3:02]
Down in Yon Forest [2:14]
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John [3:07]
The Tailor and the Mouse [1:34]
Greensleeves [2:17]
The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies [3:16]
Lord Rendall [5:40]
Sweet Jane [2:39]
The Frog and the Mouse [1:47]
The Seeds of Love [3:53]
Flowers in the Valley [2:17]
Near London Town [3:05]
O Who's Going to Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot [1:36]
Blow Away the Morning Dew [3:16]
Searching for lambs [2:17]
Sweet England [2:59]
Dabbling in the Dew [2:00]
Strawberry Fair [2:12]
Just as the Tide Was a-Flowing [2:24]
Alfred Deller (countertenor); Desmond Dupré (lute and guitar)
CD 4 Ralph Vaughan Williams - Folk Songs of Britain / English Lute Songs
Anon. trad. British, arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams:
An Acre of Land [1:33]
A Farmer's Son So Sweet [1:36]
The Lover's Ghost [3:24]
The Turtle Dove [2:50]
John Dory [2:25]
Greensleeves [5:07]
The Jolly Ploughboy [1:08]
Gloucestershire Wassail [2:34]
Down by the Riverside [1:34]
Bushes and Briars [2:57]
Just as the Tide was Flowing [2:15]
Ca' the Yowes [4:20]
My Boy Billy [2:14]
The Spring Time of the Year [2:49]
Ward the Pirate [2:47]
The Painful Plough [3:52]
The Dark-Eyed Sailor [2:08]
The Cuckoo and the Nightingale [2:02]
Loch Lomond [3:14]
The Deller Consort/Alfred Deller, director
Eileen Poulter (soprano), Mary Thomas (soprano), Alfred Deller (countertenor), Wilfred Brown (tenor), Gerald English (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone), Geoffrey Coleby (bass)
Desmond Dupré (lute and guitar)
Thomas Campion: Shall I come sweet love to thee [3:06]
Thomas Morley: Will ye by a fine dog [1:17]
John Dowland: Me, me and none but me [3:45]
Wilt thou unkind [1:39]
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor): Desmond Dupré (lute)
CD 5 Awake, Sweet Love - Airs & Partsongs of John Dowland / English Lute Songs
John Dowland: First Book of Airs, 1597 - Wilt thou, unkind, thus reave me? [1:59]
First Book of Airs, 1597 - Awake, sweet love [3:27]
A Musical Banquet, 1610 - In darkness let me dwell [4:41]
Third Book of Airs, 1603 - Me, me, and none but me [3:58]
A Pilgrim' Solace, 1612 - Go, nightly cares [5:19]
First Book of Airs, 1597 - If my complaints could passions move [4:25]
First Book of Airs, 1597 - Sleep, wayward thoughts [3:52]
Third Book of Airs, 1603 - Flow not so fast, Ye fountains [3:56]
First Book of Airs, 1597 - Come again! Sweet love doth now invite [2:03]
Second Book of Airs, 1600 - Sorrow, stay [4:11]
If that a sinner's sighs [3:23]
The Deller Consort
Honor Sheppard (soprano); Alfred Deller (countertenor); Maurice Bevan (baritone), Philipp Todd (tenor) Desmond Dupré (lute): Beatrice Reichert (viola da gamba) and Viktor Redtenbacher (violin) (track 5)
Francis Pilkington: Rest, sweet Nymphs [4:07]
John Dowland: What if I never speed [2:14]
Thomas Campion: Care charming sleep [5:39]
John Dowland: Shall I sue [2:52]
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Desmond Dupré (lute)
CD 6 Awake, Sweet Love / The Cruel Mother / The Western Wind
John Dowland: Second Book of Airs, 1600 - Fine knack for ladies [2:20]
Second Book of Airs, 1600 - Flow, my tears [5:20]
First Book of Airs, 1597 - Can she excuse my wrongs [4:04]
Honor Sheppard (soprano); Alfred Deller (countertenor); Maurice Bevan (baritone), Philipp Todd (tenor) Desmond Dupré (lute):
Anon.
When Cockleshells Turn Silver Bells [1:47]
An Eriskay Love Lilt [2:57]
Peggy Ramsay [1:38]
Bushes and Briars [2:22]
Brigg Fair [2:17]
The Cruel Mother [6:26]
A Sweet Country Life [1:36]
The Bitter Withy [2:44]
Lang a-Growing [4:45]
The Lover's Ghost [3:56]
Lovely Joan [2:03]
She Moved Through the Fair [3:33]
A Brisk Young Lad He Courted Me [2:30]
Geordie [3:54]
The Deller Consort/Alfred Deller (director)
Eileen Poulter (soprano), Mary Thomas (soprano), Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Wilfred Brown (tenor), Gerald English (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone), Geoffrey Coleby (bass) Desmond Dupré (lute)
Westron Wynd [0:47]
Early One Morning [2:14]
Black is the Color [1:52]
All the Pretty Little Horses [1:33]
Lowlands [2:35]
The Sally Gardens (text: William Butler Yeats) [2:04]
Bendemeer's Stream (text: Thomas Moore) [1:08]
Alfred Deller (countertenor), Desmond Dupré (lute and guitar) with John Sothcott (recorder)
CD 7 English Lute Songs / The Western Wind
Anon.: Have you seen but a white lilly [2:39]
Philip Rosseter: When Laura smiles [1:48]
John Dowland: Come again! Sweet love doth now invite [2:26]
John Danyel: Chromatic tunes [8:35]
Alfred Deller (countertenor): Desmond Dupré (lute and guitar)
Anon.:
Annie Laurie (text: William Douglas of Fingland, 1686) [3:30]
The Miller of the Dee [1:34]
Cockles and Mussels [1:50]
Drink to Me Only (text: Ben Johnson) [2:57]
The Foggy, Foggy Dew [1:58]
Frog Went a-Courtin' [1:48]
The Turtle Dove [3:22]
Pretty Polly Oliver [1:29]
The Carrion Crow [1:48]
The Wife of Usher's Well [3:52]
Henry Martin [2:32]
Anon., early settlers of De Kalb County, Texas: I am a poor wayfaring stranger [4:14]
Anon.: Cold Blows the Wind [4:40]
Anon.: Skye Boat Song [1:35]
Anon., from Cecil Sharp's "English Folksongs of the South Appalachians": When the Sun Goes In [6:39]
Anon.: A Ballad upon a Wedding (text: Sir John Suckling) [1:35]
Alfred Deller (countertenor), Desmond Dupré (lute and guitar) with John Sothcott (recorder)


 


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