Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


 
REVIEW



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
 




CD: AmazonUK

The Soprano Sings – English Song
see end of review for track listing
Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano); Christopher Ross (piano)
rec. 16, 17, 19, 20 December 2002, The Victoria Rooms, Bristol University Music Department.
PENCHANT PCHN-2402 [70:31]


http://www.penchant-recordings.co.uk/

Experience Classicsonline


This is an impressive album. From the quality of the singing, by way of the imaginative accompaniment, to the impressive ‘batting order’ of the songs, this CD is an excellent purchase. The album introduces even the hard-bitten enthusiast of English lieder to new delights. Add to all this, a fine introductory essay which not only discusses the songs, but also suggests a philosophical framework and historical context for a better understanding of them. Finally, the sound quality is impressive, allowing the singer, the pianist and the song to be seen in the best possible light.

One sad footnote to this CD: Lesley-Jane Rogers told me that Christopher Ross, her fine accompanist, succumbed to leukaemia in 2005. This is surely a great loss to the musical world.

The track-listing is interesting. There are 27 songs on this CD, giving a generous 70 minutes of music. For the listener it is invidious to play the CD from end to end: so much would be missed. But the reality is that this disc can be listened to as three separate recitals (Tracks 1 to 10; 11-19 and 20–27). And this is the way I suggest that it is approached.

Lesley-Jane Rogers notes in her essay that there are different streams of influence in English Song. This includes the use of folksong, the rediscovery of the music of Purcell and his contemporaries, and the influence of German lieder and French Mélodies. Over and above these purely musical references is the more intangible Englishness that is partly derived from the fields and hills and villages of this great country. Add to this the treasury of verse, poetry and song that the composers were able to draw upon – both contemporary and historical. All these things result in an important genre of music that is often sidelined or even ignored. It is the raison d’être of this CD to redress this balance.

It is not necessary to discuss every song in detail; however I want to point out some highlights. There are a fair few ‘old favourites’ on this CD, such as Howells’ beautiful ‘King David’, Frank Bridge’s ‘Love went a riding’ and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ ‘The new ghost’. But it is the less well-known pieces and the downright rarities that add special value. The two songs that most impressed me were the great Housman setting of ‘The cherry hung with snow’ from Colin Ross and the beautiful ‘Crab-apple’ by Montague Philips. I had heard neither song before. I have not come across the composer Colin Ross, although I understand that he was one-time organist at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

The depth of the repertoire ranges over some six decades. Amongst the earlier pieces is Parry’s ‘Three aspects’ (1909). This is a powerful song that surely has allusions to the well-known ‘Jerusalem’. It surprised me that it has not remained in the repertoire. Elgar is represented with his well-known ‘Like to the damask rose’.

There are a fair few songs here that are totally new to me: for example Eric Thiman’s ‘The piper pipes a merry tune’. I guess that most people will associate Thiman with the organ loft and educational music, but he did write a number of secular, concert works. Hearing this song suggests that re-evaluation of Thiman’s music may well be overdue. I had not heard the Michael Head song ‘Sweet chance’, Arthur Bliss’s coquettish ‘The buckle’ and Anthony Hopkins’ ‘A melancholy song’. With Hopkins it is often forgotten that he is an accomplished composer; he is best known for his books of musical analysis and his popular radio programme Talking About Music. Hopkins’ ‘wryly humorous’ song is the shortest on this CD, yet reveals competence, wit and imagination.

Lesley-Jane Rogers has chosen a fair selection of better-known songs -including such numbers as John Ireland’s ‘My true love has my heart’ and his ‘I had Twelve Oxen’. Britten enthusiasts are not ignored: there is a fine performance of ‘Let the florid music praise’. Other composers include Moeran, Warlock, Quilter and Bax. Cecil Armstrong Gibbs is represented by three fine songs, Bridge by his well known ‘Love went a riding’ and his slightly lesser known ‘Speak to me, my love!’ And finally, I enjoyed Herbert Howells ‘On the merry first of May’. This song is light and vivacious: it could not be in greater contrast to his setting of ‘King David’.

There are only two minor criticisms: I wish that it had been possible to provide the texts of the songs. I guess that most of them would have been out of copyright. And secondly, it would have been useful to provide dates of composers and the pieces in the track listings - the former are in the text.

This is a CD that all enthusiasts of English Song will want to have in his or her collection. Lesley-Jane Rogers’ voice is ideally suited to this kind of music. She is well able to balance depth of tone with an intimacy of detail. I noted above her essay and its philosophical approach to these songs. Basically the singer and accompanist have to realise that each song is a mini-opera complete with plot, scene-setting and character. If a song suggests innocence, then this must be the mark of the interpretation: if it is slyness, then this is the keynote. It may seem obvious, but so many singers seem to have one set approach to singing that is used in every song they sing! Lesley-Jane Rogers most definitely practises what she preaches. The theory is put into practice in this recital.

A brief CV of the singer can be read at the Penchant website.

John France

Track listing
John IRELAND (1879-1972) My true love hath my heart [1:50]
Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) The buckle [1:09]
E. J. MOERAN (1894-1950) Strings in the earth and air [2:04]
Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) Robin Good-fellow [1:23]
Anthony HOPKINS (b.1921) A melancholy song [0.47]
Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Drooping Wings [2:26]
Eric THIMAN (1900-1975) The piper pipes a merry tune [1:28]
Arnold BAX (1883-1953) When I was one-and-twenty [3:44]
John IRELAND (1879-1972) I have twelve oxen [1:58]
Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) On the merry first of May [1:03]
Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Love's Philosophy [1:19]
Colin ROSS (1911-1993) The cherry hung with snow [3:15]
Cecil ARMSTRONG GIBBS (1889-1960) The fields are full [1:58]
Montague PHILLIPS (1885-1969) Crab-apple [1:29]
Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Speak to me, my love! [5:49]
Cecil ARMSTRONG GIBBS (1889-1960) Sweet sounds, begone [2:59]
Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Lullaby [2:30]
Cecil ARMSTRONG GIBBS (1889-1960) Why do I love? [2:31]
Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Three aspects [2:38]
Michael HEAD (1900-1976) Sweet chance [2:15]
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Like to the damask rose [3:51]
Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) King David [4:40]
William WALTON (1902-1983) Rhyme [2:09]
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The new ghost [5:03]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Let the florid music praise! [4:10]
Ivor GURNEY (1890-1937) Sleep [3:12]
Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Love went-a-riding [1:53]

 

 


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






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.