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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67168
Recording details: October 1999
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: September 2000
Total duration: 15 minutes 59 seconds

'John Mark Ainsley's performance is among his best on record in these austerely beautiful, imaginatively scored settings' (Gramophone)

'It would be hard to find an interpreter more beautifully suited to the Blake Songs than John Mark Ainsley' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Superbly sung. A warm recommendation' (International Record Review)

'John Mark Ainsley’s voice has exactly the right timbre for this music. First-rate. A most desirable disc. Very strongly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'Hyperion could have no better champion here than John Mark Ainsley. With beautifully sensitive playing from the Nash Ensemble, his clean, mellifluous tenor draws us in to the hidden riches of this marvellous music' (Amazon.co.uk)

Along the Field
composer
1927
author of text

Introduction
Vaughan Williams turned again to Housman for the cycle Along the Field, this time relying simply on a vocal line and a solo violin. Despite these apparent limitations (or maybe because of them) he achieves a miracle of expressiveness—the violin accompaniment ranging from the rhapsodic embellishments of ‘We’ll to the woods no more’ to the pedal drone of ‘Along the field’, and from the ghostly double-stopping of ‘The sigh that heaves the grasses’ (played ‘near the bridge’ to wonderfully hollow effect) to the perky Jig in ‘Fancy’s Knell’ that paints a lively picture of Shropshire lads dancing with their sweethearts. The soprano Joan Elwes, accompanied by Marie Wilson (for whom Vaughan Williams had already written The Lark Ascending) gave the first performance on 24 October 1927 at the Grotrian Hall in Wigmore Street.

from notes by Michael Hurd 2000

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