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Hyperion Records

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The Celebrated (1906) by Joseph Marius Avy (1871-1939)
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67813
Recording details: December 2009
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: March 2011
Total duration: 5 minutes 10 seconds

'Unlike many dramatic sopranos, Brewer here demonstrates a clarity of enunciation and a variety of tone that suits this lighter material … extracts from musicals by Romberg and Bernstein are frankly yet enjoyably sentimental. Irresistible' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Vignoles flickers through the rippling piano part of Frank La Forge's Hills before changing to a slower, more emphatic injection in the last stanza. This is a fine song, delivered by Brewer with strong voice and the fervour of longing … Brewer's own [encore], Review has the final word. To Vignoles's spirited playing, Brewer brings variety to the descriptions of Miss Sadabelle Smith's performance … it's fun and provides a final encore for which it was worth staying till the end' (International Record Review)

First line:
Last night in Carnegie Hall Miss Sadabelle Smith
author of text
words excerpted, adapted and paraphrased from reviews

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Celius Dougherty combined his profession as an accompanist with composition and work as a music critic—and it is the critic more than the singer who is the butt of his satirical song ‘Review’. This is a clever piece of writing and a fair sample of a kind of encore-song that you might call the comic pay-off. Throughout the average celebrity recital, the audience has sat with serious faces, some of them concentrating as for dear life, others sitting expressionless because, frankly, they aren’t really concentrating at all. But now, at the end, we can lighten up. It’s not exactly a comic song, in the Old Time Music Hall sense, but there’s definitely a joke in it, and, ladies and gentlemen, ‘You may laugh’.

A risk is always entailed. Delight and instant sunshine are the rewards if it succeeds, disaster if the joke falls flat. With an audience of any sophistication it must be worth the singer’s while to make sure that they have not heard the song before or at any rate for a good long time. There have been occasions when the collective cry of dismay (‘Oh no, not this again!’) might almost have been spoken out loud.

from notes by John Steane © 2011

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