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Cat. No. CHAN 10691 Price: 10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10691 - My True Love Hath My Heart: English Songs
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Available From: 15 September 2011

Chandos CHAN 10691

English Songs – Sarah Connolly, Malcolm Martineau

Sarah Connolly received excellent reviews for her recital performance of English songs on 11 April 2011 at the Alice Tully Hall in New York. The New York Times wrote: ‘Ms Connolly’s voice was strong and steady through its range, velvety, but with a soft, subtle graininess that gave weight and presence to even her most ethereal floated notes.’

Here the mezzo-soprano, accompanied by Malcolm Martineau on piano, performs four arrangements by Benjamin Britten: three folk songs and one song from an early choral work. These complement the recent Britten CD on Chandos, on which Connolly performs the cantata Phaedra as well as A Charm of Lullabies (CHAN 10671).

Next come eleven songs from the 1920s, which is considered the golden decade for English art songs. Among the highlights are ‘By a Bierside’, Ivor Gurney’s stark reflection on death, written in the World War I trenches, and Herbert Howells’s ‘King David’ which has long been considered a masterpiece. Howells himself said: ‘I am prouder to have written King David than almost anything else of mine.’

The most recent contribution to this disc of English songs is the surreally retro A History of the Thé Dansant by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, which was published in 1995.

Reviews

“An interesting program of 20th Century English songs ... thoughtfully chosen from both well-known and less familiar composers, in stunningly beautiful performances that go straight to the heart: this is a recording that you will want to return to again and again. Sarah Connolly’s voice has color and richness to spare, and she knows how to use it sparingly. She sings with expressive legato and perfect intonation and diction... Most important, she has a wonderful ability to find and communicate surprising depths of meaning, and Malcolm Martineau matches her phrase for phrase...”
Marcuse – American Record Guide – March/April 2012

“Sarah Connolly, with here clear, fresh mezzo, here tackles a delightful, wide-ranging sequence of English songs... In all these Sarah Connolly sings immaculately, with impeccably sensitive accompaniment from Malcolm Martineau, in sound both clear and perfectly balanced.”
Edward Greenfield – Gramophone magazine – January 2012

“...This diverse miscellany of English songs is well worth investigating.  It  has been given an ideally balanced recording.”
Richard Nicholson – Classical Source.com – 1 November 2011

“...Connolly and Martineau make an impressive double act.  The former has performed this material live to glowing reviews, and you can hear why. Her voice has such a pleasing texture – it is womanly rather than girlish; velvet rather than satin – and her sense of drama is never overstated. She excels, therefore, in capturing the masculine and melancholy of
Britten’s lullabies and Bennett’s brittle, unpredictable scenes from a long marriage. Martineau responds throughout with characteristically flawless, subtle and intuitive
accompaniment.” ****
Anna Britten – Classic FM Magazine – December 2011 

                     Performance ****      Recording ****
 
Hilary Finch – BBC Music Magazine – December 2011

"...Connolly and her supersensitive accompanist, Malcolm Martineau, ideally recorded, are throughout simply ideal in this treasurable repertoire. Should Sarah Connolly be tempted to keep exploring the highways and byways of English song, as I devoutlyhope she will, she will soon find plenty more material to delight both her, and us."
Piers Burton-Page - International Record Review - October 2011
 

 

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