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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67457
Recording details: May 2003
Savage Club, 1 Whitehall Place, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Simon Weir
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: March 2004
Total duration: 4 minutes 56 seconds

'Bott can transform herself from robust campanologist in Walton's Rhyme to high camp in Kit and the Widow's irresistible Wimbledon Idyll; from folk singer for Ewan MacColl's Sweet Thames to waif-like Victorian music-hall songstress in While London's fast asleep … the gently circumspect soft-focus of this recital will doubtless be, for many listeners, all part of that illusory charm of London Town' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Listen to what Bott and Norris make of the Gershwin standard A Foggy Day and you'll believe that the age of miracles hasn't passed!' (International Record Review)

'Best of all is the Joyce Grenfell number, Joyful Noise, putting her own delicious slant on a number one would have thought no one but Joyce Grenfell could bring off' (The Guardian)

'Catherine Bott, dextrous in Baroque and earlier repertory, weilds a light, winning touch as she ranges with pianist Davis Owen Norris through British music-hall songs, Gershwin, Joyce Grenfell ditties and recent Jonathan Dove' (The Times)

'Sumptuous performances all.' (The Sunday Times)

'Catherine Bott, totally unexpected in lighter twentieth century repertoire, divulges new facets of her talents … Noel Coward's London Pride closes the album on a subdued but heroic note, leaving us in admiration of singer and pianist in one of this year's most enjoyable discs to have come my way' (Fanfare, USA)

'Catherine Bott's versatile, light soprano is wonderfully entertaining in this wide-ranging London related album' (The Evening Standard)

'I cannot recommend this disc highly enough. It positively radiates intelligence and wit in performances of consummate musicianship. A truly delightful gallimaufry!' (MusicWeb International)

While London's fast asleep
composer
author of text

Introduction
One of the most important musical genres associated with London is the music hall song, and this needs careful handling by a classical singer. Stick your thumbs through imaginary braces and bellow ‘Let’s all go down the Strand’ and your audience will recoil in horror before you can say ‘Knocked ’em in the Old Kent Road’. But music hall was once a hugely popular part of London life, and its best songs have a comic or sentimental appeal that still entertains and convinces. Victorian Londoners were less afraid of sentiment than we are today (were they, in our modern phrase, more ‘in touch with their feminine side’?) and, keen philanthropists that they were, enjoyed wistful songs about homeless waifs and strays. One of the finest of these is Harry Dacre’s While London’s fast asleep. Let’s not forget that there are still, in the twenty-first century, pockets of the most abject poverty in London.

from notes by Catherine Bott 2004

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