Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

 

Songs of Innocence
Trad. (arr. Benjamin Britten)
I wonder as I wander
(1940-41) [4:09]
Trad. (arr. Charles Ives)
In the mornin’
- Negro Spiritual (1929) [2:11]
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Diaphenia
(1929) [1:56]
The Owl (1929) [1:27] Witches Song (1929) [0:43] Chamber Music V (1929) [1:23]
The Rainbow (No.2 of Three Two-part Songs) (1932) [2:21] The Oxen (1967) [2:43]
Little Sir William (c.1940) [2:53]
Michael Berkeley (b.1948)
Cradle Song (late 1960s rev. 1976-77) [1:41]
Peter Warlock (1894-1930)
The bayly berith the bell away
(1919) [2:32]
William Boyce (1710-1779) (arr. Elizabeth Poston)
Tell me, lovely shepherd
(1742) (1943) [3:08]
Michael Flanders (1922-1975) and Donald SWANN (1923-1994) (arr. Andrew Plant)
The Slow Train
(1963) [3:48]
Trad. (arr. Benjamin Britten)
Ca’ the yowes
(1951) [3:37]
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) (arr. Maurice Jacobson)
Silent Worship
(1728) [1:49]
Charles Wood (1866-1926)
Who is Silvia
(1891) [1:45]
Trad. arr. Andrew Plant
Caleno custere me
(1984) [2:10]
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Dirge for Fidele
(1895) [3:34]
Roger Quilter (1877-1953)
Summer Sunset
(1938) [1:57]
Charles Ives
Slow March
[1:37]
Benjamin Britten
Tom Bowling
(1959) [4:54]
John Jeffries
Matthew, Mark, Luke & John
from When I was Young (1950) [1:16]
Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
My bed is a boat from From a Child’s Garden (1968) [3:01]
Samuel Barber (1913-1976)
Sure on this shining night
No.4 of Four Songs (1938) [2:27]
Malcolm WILLIAMSON
Sweet and low
No.4 from Six English Lyrics (1966) [2:29]
Andrew Swait (treble); James Bowman (counter-tenor); Andrew Plant (piano)
rec. 11 August, 8 September 2007, Cheltenham College, Cheltenham, UK
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD128 [61:48]
Experience Classicsonline

For my money the most interesting part of this adventurous collection of songs is the early Britten: there are four ‘unknown’ numbers dating from 1929 when the composer was barely a teenager. Yet there is a confidence and a subtlety here that belies his innocence. I have never heard these pieces before and am both grateful and delighted to have been introduced to them. The choice of text suggests that Britten was already knowledgeable about the deep riches of English Literature. Diaphenia, written by Constable and Chettle and The Owl by Tennyson are sung by the treble, whereas the ‘fantastic’ Witches Song the Masque of Dreams by Ben Johnson and James Joyce’s Chamber Music V is performed by James Bowman. These are great works that are fully worthy to be in Britten’s catalogue.
 
Three later songs further explore this investigation into the ‘unknown BB. The Rainbow is an attractive ‘duet’ to words by that poet of smutched innocence, Walter de la Mare. Perhaps one of the ‘saddest’ of poems in the English language is Thomas Hardy’s agnostic musing on the ‘kneeling oxen’ on Christmas Eve. Once again this is set as a duet for both performers which highlights the sense of loss of innocence. Yet this is a late Britten song, written in 1967. Finally there is a lovely setting of Little Sir William dating from 1940. Other Britten arrangements include Niles’s I wonder as I wander, Charles Dibdin’s Tom Bowling and the traditional Ca’ the Yowes.
 
I do not intend to describe all 25 tracks on this explorative CD. However, I want to mention what to me were a few highlights – although I recognise that every one of these miniatures will be someone’s especial favourites.
 
Perhaps the one work on this CD I enjoyed most is the heart-achingly beautiful rendition of Flanders’s and Swann’s The Slow Train. For anyone who has lamented the demise of the railway branch-line this is an ‘essential’ work of art. Of course, possibly one prefers the original version – but this recording gives a new slant on this work that is well worth engaging with.
 
The ‘colonies’ are not ignored in this CD. Charles Ives’s fine setting of the Negro spiritual ‘In the Mornin’ is surely a minor masterpiece that is a million miles away from preconceived images of that master’s complex music. Samuel Barber, Sure on this shining night is hauntingly beautiful and is possibly one of the great songs written by an American. Malcolm Williamson contributes a setting of the traditional Sweet and Low and Robert Louis Stevenson’s evocation of childhood imagination in My bed is a boat reveals a composer who is able to combine craftsmanship with wondrous invention.
 
But back to blighty: look out for Charles Wood’s version of that well worn text – Who is Silvia. How hard it must be to write a ‘new’ song that neither nods to, nor feels intimidated by Schubert!
 
Naturally the vocal texture of a boy-treble and counter-tenor is an acquired taste – and I am not sure that I have acquired it. However, if the listener has doubts about the wisdom or even the necessity of purchasing this CD let them consider 1) the programme has a number of pieces that are unavailable elsewhere –including some ‘unknown’ Britten; 2) there is no need to listen to this CD from end to end. To do so would be to gradually loose concentration on what are largely well-wrought songs, 3) the programme notes are extensive and extremely helpful. Which brings me to 4) -they are beautifully performed. For not a single moment are any parts of these songs forced or contrived. There is a beauty about both the voices that almost deifies description. And, of course, Andrew Plant makes a sensitive accompanist.
 
Finally, there is nothing sentimental about this CD: this is not some choir-robed starlet singing popular tear-jerkers – this is well written and well presented music at its best. The bottom line is that the title well sums up the entire project – these are ‘Songs of innocence’.
 
John France
 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review 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.