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Hyperion Records

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La belle dame sans merci by Sir Frank Dicksee (1853-1928)
© Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67830
Recording details: February 2010
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2011
Total duration: 2 minutes 16 seconds

'Finley, who has one of those exquisite voices that could make poetry of the telephone directory, vividly characterises the words without recourse to the exaggerated enunciation … Drake uses all the colouristic forces he can command with wit (The Flea), bravura (Erlkönig and Wolf's spellbinding Der Feurreiter) and imagination (Loewe's Die wandelnde Glocke). As these pages have said before, it's a great partnership' (Gramophone)

'A new idea for the anthology disc: here is Gerald Finley, in his vocal prime, as balladeer—telling tales of misadventure and gothic horror … Finley is a fine tale-teller. In Loewe, he sounds as though he's singing just for you, the listener, so rapt and intense is his communication' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Drake's playing has successfully suited the varied repertoire. Finley has enthralled with his interpretations and delighted with his singing purely as singing, combining the two expertly. If I were a reviewer who seems to think that it is mandatory to nominate a CD as outstanding each month I might consider proposing this well-recorded issue' (International Record Review)

'Listen to these wonderfully melodramatic, mostly Victorian ballads by candlelight in a haunted house … performances full of raging fortissimos and ghoulish tremolandos from Finley and his pianist Julius Drake' (The Times)

Aus Goethes Faust, Op 75 No 3
First line:
Es war einmal ein König
composer
mid 1790s; revised for publication in 1809
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Stephan Genz (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
This most indelibly memorable of all Beethoven’s songs – as well as the most overtly playful – sets the famous passage from Goethe’s Faust known as Mephistopheles’ ‘Song of the Flea’. The insect’s darting movements are brilliantly suggested by the registral hopping of the piano part, while the last verse screws up the mounting hysteria with a series of excited scratches culminating in the squashing of the flea right at the end.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 1999


Other albums featuring this work
'Beethoven: Songs' (CDA67055)
Beethoven: Songs
'Beethoven: Songs' (GAW21055)
Beethoven: Songs
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