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Track(s) taken from CDA67644

The Last Reader

First line:
I sometimes sit beneath a tree
1921; quotes from the hymn Cherith
author of text
1836; The Last Reader, verses 1 and 3

Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)
Recording details: February 2007
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: February 2008
Total duration: 1 minutes 39 seconds

Cover artwork: Early Spring Afternoon, Central Park (1911) by Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858-1925)
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Outstandingly well sung and played, equally well recorded, and highly recommendable to all lovers of fine songs and fine singing' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is a highly successful follow-up to Gerald Finley and Julius Drake's first Ives recital from 2005. Here there is the same sort of mix, from familiar songs such as The Circus Band and Watchman! to an early requiem for the family cat and the intriguing title song, Romanzo, di Central Park, with its obbligato violin part atmospherically played by Magnus Johnston. Finley is his usual charismatic self, at home as much in the hymnody as the parody, and he is careful not to over-sentimentalise the more homely numbers while injecting pathos into the war songs. Drake projects Ives's often complex accompaniments with clarity and style' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The programme has been selected and sequenced with care … the booklet includes not just texts but also comments by Calum MacDonald about every single song. Hyperion always gets these things right; even the cover art is a bull's-eye. Finley and Drake give no cause for complaint either … the engineers have done their work well. Finley and Drake are perfectly balanced and they perofrm in an environment of intimate warmth' (International Record Review)

'Finley is a wonderfully assured interpreter … perfectly registering their switchback changes of mood and presenting their occasional lapses into sentimentality with total conviction. More than any other performers on disc, Finley and Drake establish these songs, with all their quirks and flights of fantasy, among the most important of the 20th century in any language' (The Guardian)

'Gerald Finley has everything and more in his darkly full-bodied voice to match the often formidable technical and expressive requirements of Ives's songbook—reinforced by Drake's elastic, expressive piano … this is a must-buy album' (The Times)

'The variety of songs recorded here is extraordinary … Gerald Finley's warm baritone sits right inside Ives's soundworld, while Drake refuses to be fazed by the idealistic piano writing' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Listening to a collection such as this reveals genuine delights of phrase and harmony. These are, by and large, not songs for 'showy' singers, yet several of the numbers more citational of popular song do demand some verbal panache, which the Canadian bass-baritone can certainly supply, along with fine-honed dynamic control and a warm, solidly delineated tone … Drake, very sensitive as to tempo and mood, proves willing to haul out the trombones when needed' (Opera News)

'It's the best kind of fun. The astonishing range Ives exhibits in the 30 songs on the disc—some comic, others serious—is astonishing. Finley, in even better voice than on the Barber CD, and Drake, relishing Ives' complexities, dig deep into them all' (Bay Area Reporter, USA)

'Gerald Finley's second disc of Ives songs is every bit as wonderful as the first. Finley is the perfect song recitalist … he can sound dreamy, tender, raucous, heroic, and serene, all without ever disfiguring his timbre or letting the pitch waver. Julius Drake offers accompaniments that are as perfect and knowing as the singing, and the engineering couldn't be better … this is magnificent—vocal recitals don't come any better' (Classics Today)
The Last Reader was arranged for voice and piano in 1921, and furnished with a text by Oliver Wendell Holmes, but started life as a song without words for chamber ensemble in 1911. Ageing, the power of song, and memory are all eloquently celebrated here in Ives’s most refined mature idiom. The music quotes the hymn-tune ‘Cherith’, adapted from an oratorio by Louis Spohr and usually sung to the words ‘Remember, Lord, what Thou hast laid on us’.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008

Arrangée pour voix et piano en 1921, The Last Reader («Le dernier lecteur») présente un texte d’Oliver Wendell Holmes mais fut d’abord une romance sans paroles pour ensemble de chambre (1911). Le vieillissement, le pouvoir des mélodies et le souvenir sont célébrés ici avec éloquence, dans ce que l’idiome ivesien abouti a de plus raffiné. La musique cite l’hymne «Cherith», adaptée d’un oratorio de Louis Spohr et généralement chantée sur les paroles «Rappelle-toi, Seigneur, ce que tu nous as procuré».

extrait des notes rédigées par Calum MacDonald © 2008
Français: Hypérion

The Last Reader wurde 1921 für Gesang und Klavier eingerichtet und mit einem Text von Oliver Wendell Holmes versehen, begann aber 1911 als Lied ohne Worte für Kammermusikensemble. Im Alter werden hier die Macht des Gesangs und der Erinnerung in Ives erlesenstem Reifestil gefeiert. Die Musik zitiert die Kirchenmelodie „Cherith“, die aus einem Oratorium von Louis Spohr abgeleitet ist und gewöhnlich auf die englischen Worte „Remember, Lord, what Thou hast laid on us“ gesungen wirt.

aus dem Begleittext von Calum MacDonald © 2008
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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