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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: 5 minutes 5 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)

King David
composer
7 August 1919
author of text

King David  [5'05] English

Introduction
A close friend of Gurney and a fellow pupil (first of Herbert Brewer at Gloucester Cathedral, and later of Stanford), Herbert Howells warmed to his friend’s innate sensitivity to poetry and England’s Tudor legacy, and was moved to orchestrate two of the songs Gurney composed in the trenches during the First World War. King David was completed on 7 August 1919 and dedicated to the tenor John Coates. One of many settings Howells made of poetry by his friend Walter de la Mare, it reflected the composer’s enchantment with the movement of so-called ‘Georgian’ poets, established by the editions of Edward Marsh and Harold Monro of the Poetry Bookshop between 1911 and 1922. With some justification Howells considered King David one of his finest works. De la Mare’s narrative dimension is wonderfully realised in the tonal ‘journey’ from E flat minor, through its relative G flat major, to the second phase of the song framed by a glowing E major. Furthermore, Howells builds into his ‘scena’ (for its is surely larger than the traditional concept of a ‘song’) an impressive matrix of motivic associations, the most conspicuous of which are the progressions of ‘lament’ (iv9–I–iv9) in the opening bars, transformed and inverted in the E major phase (I–IV–I), and the melancholy utterance of the nightingale whose impassioned singing rings out exclusively in the upper register of the piano.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble 2001

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