Various Artists

English Song

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AllMusic Review by

This two-disc set entitled An Anthology of English Song is just what it says it is: a very generous collection of 53 selections drawn from 13 separate discs of songs by English composers from Stanford to Britten. Some were first issued in the '90s on the late Collins label. Some were first issued in the 2000s on the vibrant Naxos label. But all are superbly sung by the cream of English art song singers. The performances here are each superlative in their own ways and some of them compare with the best ever made. Simon Keenlyside's clarion interpretation of Vaughan Williams' "The Call" thrills the heart. Philip Langridge's magical interpretation of Holst's "Now in these fairylands" touches the imagination. Bernadette Greevey's witty interpretation of Bax's "Oh dear, what can the matter be" tickles the funny bone. And Felicity Lott's haunting interpretation of Walton's "Beatriz's Songs" lingers long in the memory. While some of the repertoire is fairly recherché -- Liza Lehmann, Arthur Somervell, and Cecil Armstrong Gibbs are names known only to the most dedicated fans of the genre -- the collection as a whole will delight those who love English art songs. Whether recorded in the '90s by Collins or the 2000s by Naxos, the sound is consistently smooth and clean.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:49
2
5:12
3
2:42
4
1:52
5
2:36
6
3:21
7
3:06
8
3:56
9
2:54
10
3:29
11
1:52
12
4:01
13
3:51
14
2:16
15
4:38
Songs (12) for voice & piano, Op. 48, H. 174
16
1:26
17
3:16
Songs (4) for voice & piano, Op. 4. H. 14
18
2:44
19
3:14
20
1:25
21
2:25
22
5:29
23
2:25
Three Songs (Three Sea-Shanties), for voice & piano
24
2:31
25
0:53
26
1:31
27
1:32

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
3:22
2
2:59
3
2:11
4
1:38
5
3:00
6
3:20
7
1:49
8
2:31
9
1:31
10
2:11
11
3:05
12
1:00
13
2:09
14
1:11
15
4:35
A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table, song cycle for soprano & piano or orchestra
16
2:23
Façade, for reciter & ensemble
17
2:30
18
2:07
19
2:15
20
2:50
21
5:34
22
3:22
23
2:37
On this Island, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 11
24
1:59
25
5:40
Winter Words, song cycle for tenor & piano, Op. 52
26
4:00
blue highlight denotes track pick