On This Island Songs By Britt

The song repertory of the English musical renaissance–from Stanford and Parry through to Howells, Warlock and early Britten–has largely been the preserve of male singers. So it makes a change to hear a light soprano such as Lynne Dawson wash familiar words with fresh, transparent-textured lyricism. Although there’s something slightly tremulous and quavering in her

The song repertory of the English musical renaissance–from Stanford and Parry through to Howells, Warlock and early Britten–has largely been the preserve of male singers. So it makes a change to hear a light soprano such as Lynne Dawson wash familiar words with fresh, transparent-textured lyricism. Although there’s something slightly tremulous and quavering in her vibrato, it’s a charming voice and at its best in the folk-idiom of Peter Warlock’s “Lillygay” songs, the innocent pleasures of Roger Quilter’s “My Life’s Delight” or Stanford’s parodistic settings of Edward Lear (which he produced under the pseudonym Karel Drofnatzski). Whether she has quite the depth of feeling for the pastoral melancholy in so many other of these songs, or quite the sense of irony to bring off Britten’s fabulously muscle-flexing cycle On This Island, is uncertain. But where the voice fails to deliver here and there, the pianist compensates with playing of real strength and insight. Malcolm Martineau is the complete accompanist: a one-man quality assurance, and as expert in his native British music as we all, these days, know him to be in French. –Michael White

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Anonymous says:

A Customer This eclectic collection of British songs is radiantly performed by soprano Lynne Dawson. If you are the kind of music listener who is averse to classical sopranos, then you need to hear this glorious voice and decide if you have been exposed to the wrong ones. Miss Dawson’s voice never veers unpleasantly into the warbly vibrato that has marred many a recorded performance. She always maintains a control of pitch that reminds this listener of the great contralto Kathleen Ferrier. This is the…

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