Bryn Terfel

A Song in My Heart

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Neither the title A Song in My Heart nor the subtitle "Portrait of the Artist" quite gets across what this album is: a selection, by Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel himself, of his own favorites from the roughly 30 he has recorded for the Deutsche Grammphon label. He's a prolific guy, and his talents range from Wagner to Welsh-language songs to American musicals and folk songs. There's thus, for the newcomer, an unusually strong need for a collection like this in Terfel's case, and this double-disc release admirably fills the need. Terfel may surprise you with his ability to move seamlessly from operatic German and Italian to idiomatic American English in Shenandoah, and back to Received Standard in Gilbert and Sullivan (rendered here, as only the Germans could do it, as "Sullivan/Gilbert") -- until you stop and reflect that his native language is Welsh, not English; one English accent may be as natural to him as another. Indeed, the one item largely missing from this inventory of Terfel's skills is Welsh song; Terfel has recorded several albums' worth of Welsh-language material, revealing some intriguingly local and intimate takes on the Romantic national song impulse. But the only Welsh heard here comes at the end of CD 1, in two songs recorded, apparently in the Terfel family living room, by the 12-year-old Bryn. These will be enough to recommend the set for the serious Terfel fan, and the answer is yes, his clear voice and his talent for entering into a song are evident at this early age. It might have been nice to know, for those whose Welsh is rusty, what he was singing about; no texts for anything are given. And the arrangements of some of the American songs on the program are a bit fussy. But all these are minor complaints. The program is logically organized, moving from a mix of Mozart, Schubert, and vernacular material on disc 1 into heavier Berlioz and Wagner selections on disc 2, and Terfel's trademark ability to communicate is on display all the way through. With the budget price, this can be recommended to anyone who wants to try a single Bryn Terfel purchase -- you'll be hearing the man who is widely thought to be the finest baritone of our time.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
4:02
2
4:27 Amazon
3
3:10 Amazon
4
4:07 Amazon
5
2:23 Amazon
Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492
6
3:35 Amazon
Così fan tutte, opera, K. 588
7
2:14
8
4:23
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
9
4:07
10
4:29 Amazon
11
4:24 Amazon
12
4:43 Amazon
13
1:56 Amazon
The Little Prince, film score
14
3:18 Spotify
15
3:17
16
4:05
17
4:49 Amazon
18
5:06 Amazon
19
3:45 Amazon
20
1:44 Amazon
21
2:25 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Berenice, Regina d'Egitto, opera, HWV 38
1
4:18
Te Deum (Dettingen) for soloists, chorus & orchestra in D major, HWV 283
2
2:22
Elijah (Elias), oratorio, Op. 70
3
3:08
The House of Life, song cycle for voice & piano
4
3:42
5
3:11
6
2:50
La Damnation de Faust, for mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, chorus and orchestra, ("légende dramatique") H. 111 (Op. 24)
7
1:26
8
2:35
Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), opera, WWV 63
9
10:54
Tannhäuser, opera, WWV 70
10
5:52 Spotify
11
6:35
12
1:43
13
3:54
14
3:26
The Yeomen of the Guard (The Merryman and his Maid), operetta
15
1:46
Falstaff, opera
16
4:33
17
5:11
18
2:45
19
3:06
blue highlight denotes track pick