Hyperion Records

La belle dame sans merci
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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 © 2011

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Details for CDA67830 track 10
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-11-83010
Duration
6'06
Recording date
3 February 2010
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. The Ballad Singer (CDA67830)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: June 2011
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