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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67227
Recording details: August 2000
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: May 2001
Total duration: 6 minutes 17 seconds

'A top British soprano shines in a recital that should appeal well beyond her shores. The programme is delightful, and so are the performances' (Gramophone)

'The programme is well chosen, with familiar songs alongside some that have been unjustly neglected. Dawson’s performances are wholly intelligent, nicely phrased and display deep musical understanding: her account of Howells’s King David is particularly mesmerizing. She is most fortunate to have Malcolm Martineau as her accompanist: he is one of the finest currently before the public, and they are rewarded with an excellent, beautifully balanced recording … this recital will give much pleasure' (International Record Review)

'Taken with the unusual repertory and Lynne Dawson’s unusually fine singing, this becomes an easily recommended introduction to the world of English song' (American Record Guide)

'The most delectable recital of English song … a generous sequence of brief, tuneful songs that are totally charming, from Armida's Garden by Parry to Ivor Gurney's rapt setting of John Fletcher' (The Guardian)

'A rare and rich recital … the real joy of this recital is to hear Dawson's soprano thrilling to the expressive flexibility of her own language, particularly where the glorification of the voice is fused with linguistic excitement' (The Times)

'What a treat it is to hear [Dawson] singing English so expressively … Nothing is lovelier than her haunting unaccompanied singing of Vaughan Williams' (The Sunday Times)

'The really marvellous thing about the singing is that it captures a bubbly, warm, human individuality – a kind of vocal English rose' (Manchester Evening News)

La belle dame sans merci
First line:
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms
composer
30 October 1877
author of text
1819

Other recordings available for download
Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Clifford Benson (piano)
Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Stanford’s La belle dame sans merci is a setting of Keats’ famous 1819 ballad of the unnamed knight fatally bewitched by the mysterious ‘faery’s child’—a favourite subject for composers and pre-Raphaelite painters alike. Stanford composed this celebrated song early in 1877 (making it an exact contemporary of Sullivan’s The Lost Chord), drawing on sketches he had made over a decade earlier. As in many of Loewe’s ballads (Stanford’s probable model), the successive verses vary the plain, bardic melody, with the piano-as-orchestra adding atmosphere and illustrative detail. A seductive, remote modulation lures the knight to his ruin (‘She took me to her elfin grot’). In the penultimate verse he awakens to eerie chromatic harmonies, before text and music return to the chill reality of the opening.

from notes by Richard Wigmore İ 2011


Other albums featuring this work
'Stanford: Songs, Vol. 1' (CDA67123)
Stanford: Songs, Vol. 1
'The Ballad Singer' (CDA67830)
The Ballad Singer

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