June Tabor

Rosa Mundi

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AllMusic Review by

On this album, June Tabor continues to explore the no man's land that lies between art song and traditional ballad, veering first in one direction and then the other, with results that, while ultimately mixed, never fail to hold one's attention. The program this time out is thematically unified; each song has to do with roses, especially with the rose as a symbol -- of love (both divine and profane), beauty, and hope. As usual, her sources are primarily traditional, but also as usual, the non-traditional sources can be surprising -- a Tchaikovsky song, a Les Barker tune, a sentimental British World War I music hall song. And also as usual, she shines brightest on the least-arty material. Her delivery is sensitive and masterful on Les Barker's "Maybe Then I'll Be a Rose" and the Tchaikovsky adaptation, but it's the Robert Burns setting ("My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose") and her exquisitely delicate rendition of "Es Ist ein Rose Ersprungen" (here titled "Rhosyn Wyn/Winterrose") that send chills up the spine. Overall, this is not an album that stands head and shoulders above the rest of Tabor's work, but bear in mind that Tabor's work tends to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

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