'With piano-playing by that most sensitive of accompanists, Malcolm Martineau, Sir Thomas Allen brings high art to these songs … with an affectionate regard to mood and feeling, and with a touching lyrical sincerity' (The Daily Telegraph)
'Other singers over recent decades have given the songs an airing from time to time, but Thomas Allen is the very man to do it' (Gramophone)
'A fitting tribute to this repertory that one of the finest operatic voices of our day has chosen to record it' (Classic FM Magazine)
'Hyperion here brings us Sir Thomas Allen caressing 29 well-loved parlour songs with his warm, expressive baritone … Malcolm Martineau provides his usual sympathetic and well-etched pianistic support' (Birmingham Post)
'I must confess that, what with the beauty of Thomas Allen’s voice and the lovely accompaniment of Malcolm Martineau at the piano, a tear welled in my eye more than once. Another distinguished release from Hyperion' (Liverpool Daily Post)
'what quality of nostalgia, and what depth of conviction … Superb performances … Martineau’s carefully moulded accompaniments enhance a glorious enterprise' (Yorkshire Post)
Known the world over as one of the finest dramatic stage presences before the opera public today, Sir Thomas Allen is also a communicative recitalist, gifted with an open humour and devotion to song that quickly enraptures his audience. These qualities were celebrated last year with pianist Malcolm Martineau in the first volume of 'Songs my father taught me' (CDA67290) and which by popular demand—a true encore!—are shared again in this touching second collection. Here once more is a recital of familiar and nostalgic repertoire steeped in history from firesides of generation after generation, of families gathered round the old piano or latterly the phonograph, dwelling on sentiments of love and regret, wishfulness and celebration, absence and expectancy, that know no age. This disc, graced by a mellow and honeyed voice, captures a gentle age gone by when such heartfelt depictions brought both consolation and joy.
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During the Victorian age, composers and versifiers turned out ballads in their thousands for home music-making. Superior musical minds then and since have decried the simple sentiments and basic musical resource displayed by many of those songs. Yet the genre was successful enough to spread around the world and flourish well into the days of gramophone and radio. That we can still enjoy the best examples in the twenty-first century is exemplified by the success of Sir Thomas Allenís first volume of ballads (). Here, in response to demand, is a successor that evokes similar happy impressions of music-making long ago.
Andrew Lamb © 2003