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Hyperion Records

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At the Piano by Robert Beyschlag (1838-1903)
Anthony Mitchell Paintings, Nottingham / Fine Art Photographic Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67374
Recording details: January 2002
Champs Hill, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2003
Total duration: 1 minutes 23 seconds

'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)

'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)

'A fitting tribute to this repertory that one of the finest operatic voices of our day has chosen to record it' (Classic FM Magazine)

'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)

'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)

'what quality of nostalgia, and what depth of conviction … Superb performances … Martineau’s carefully moulded accompaniments enhance a glorious enterprise' (Yorkshire Post)

A Cradle Song
First line:
O men from the fields
author of text
Songs of the Connacht

This cradle song, evoking a picture of the arrival of the Wise Men at the crib of Jesus in Bethlehem, is from a group of ‘Songs from Connacht’ by the Irish poet Padraic Colum. Colum was born in Longford, Ireland, where his father was master of the workhouse before abandoning the family for the goldfields of Colorado. Padraic Colum worked as a railway clerk until a wealthy American gave him a scholarship that enabled him to spend his time studying and writing. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he lived for a time in France, and later went to America; but throughout his career he tried to represent the speech and the people of his native Ireland. There have been many settings of the words. This 1920s example is by Gladys Mary Sheldon, born in Derby and active as a music teacher in Birmingham.

from notes by Andrew Lamb 2003

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