Hyperion Records

Three Songs, Op 2
composer
No 1: 1927; No 3: 1934

Recordings
'Barber: Songs' (CDA67528)
Barber: Songs
'Housman: A Shropshire Lad' (CDD22044)
Housman: A Shropshire Lad
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Details
No 1: The Daisies  In the scented bud of the morning – O
No 2: With rue my heart is laden
No 3: Bessie Bobtail  As down the road she wambled slow

Three Songs, Op 2
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Barber had a lifelong enthusiasm for Celtic, especially Irish literature: like the British composers Bax and Moeran he identified strongly with Ireland and its people—their humour, their melancholy, their love of words—and considered himself a sort of Irishman ‘in spirit’. He retained a great affection for the writings of James Stephens and James Joyce. His earliest published songs (the Three Songs Op 2, published in 1936) combine two settings of Stephens with a poem from A E Housman’s A Shropshire Lad. The unforced naturalness of their utterance and the sheer charm of their appeal is enhanced by the clear textures and simple, grateful piano parts. The carefree ditty of Stephens’s The Daisies is followed by a plangent B minor setting of Housman’s With rue my heart is laden. More ambitious—indeed frankly dramatic—is the second Stephens setting, Bessie Bobtail, with its melancholy dragging rhythm (the piano’s figures in contrary motion have a drum-like effect), breaking out at last in tragic appeal. The bleak mood is confirmed by the piano’s chorale-like postlude in D minor, marked ‘with eloquence’.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2007

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67528 track 4
Bessie Bobtail
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-07-52804
Duration
2'51
Recording date
8 December 2005
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Barber: Songs (CDA67528)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: November 2007
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