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Track(s) taken from CDA67778

The Deaf Woman's Courtship

First line:
Old woman, old woman, are you fond of smoking?
Appalachian folk song collected by Cecil Sharp
1952; composed as a duet for Kathleen Ferrier and Peter Pears
author of text
collected by Cecil Sharp

Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)
Recording details: December 2008
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2010
Total duration: 1 minutes 31 seconds

Cover artwork: The Tyger (plate 42 from Songs of Innocence and of Experience, copy AA, P.125-1950.pt42) (c1815/26) by William Blake (1757-1827)
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Finley as ever acquits himself as a fine singer, a conscientious artist and a thoroughly reliable musician … Julius Drake is the superb pianist' (Gramophone)

'Fischer-Dieskau's recording from 1965 carries massive authority, but this new recording tops it … everythng [Finley] sings has a feeling of emotional truth, without any artfulness. That's a great asset in these songs … Finley makes Blake's aphorisms ring out with the force of an Old Testament prophet' (The Daily Telegraph)

'If you want to know, or simply need reminding, why Gerald Finley is up there in the Premier League of baritone recitalists then strike out for the final five songs on this magnificent new recording … [Songs and Proverbs of William Blake] originally written for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Finley proves himself the equal of his noble predecessor, both in expressivity and emotional weight. How good it is to have this difficult music available in such a fine modern performance … it is a mark of the quality of these two fine artists that everything on this new release should sound newly minted' (International Record Review)

'Gerald Finley sings them all with such an unwaveringly beautiful tone and attention to every syllable, and pianist Julian Drake is so wonderfully attuned to the baritone's inflections … Finley comes into his own in the final Every Night and Every Morn, and Drake's handling of the powerfully wrought accompaniments is superb. Those who have followed them through their series of 20th-century songs for Hyperion (Barber, Ives, Ravel previously) won't be disappointed with this one either' (The Guardian)

'The Canadian baritone has already impressed with his outstanding diction in three albums of North American song for Hyperion. Now he turns to the repertoire that Britten wrote for two of his favourite baritones: Songs and Proverbs of William Blake (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau) and Tit for Tat (John Shirley-Quirk) … Tit for Tat displays the young composer's prodigious melodic gift and his savour of words. Finley's noble baritone is a richer-coloured instrument than Shirley-Quirk's … in the Blake settings, Finley naturally sounds more at home with the English texts than Fischer-Dieskau ever did … Finley's watchwords are directness and clarity, both of which come across to splendid effect in the folk-song arrangements … Drake is his admirable partner in this outstanding enterprise' (The Sunday Times)

'This marvellous CD showcases the songs Britten wrote for the baritones Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, John Shirley-Quirk and Benjamin Luxon—music that Finley, at the peak of his very considerable powers, makes his own with the pianist Julius Drake … Finley lends it [Songs and Proverbs of William Blake] the very beauty and intelligence and ecstatic vocalism it needs, without the mannerisms of Fischer-Dieskau' (Financial Times)
In 1952, Britten prepared a comic duet arrangement of the Appalachian folksong ‘The Deaf Woman’s Courtship’ for Kathleen Ferrier to sing as part of a national tour with Pears and Britten conceived with the aim of raising funds for the English Opera Group. According to Britten’s memoir of Ferrier, she sang her part ‘in a feeble, cracked voice, the perfect reply to Peter’s magisterial roar. A masterpiece of humour, which had the audience rocking, but never broke the style of the rest of the concert.’ After Ferrier’s untimely death, the contralto part was taken over by Norma Procter, though the arrangement was to remain unpublished until 2001.

from notes by Mervyn Cooke © 2010

En 1952, Britten arrangea pour duo comique le folksong appalachien «The Deaf Woman’s Courtship» afin que Kathleen Ferrier le chantât, avec Pears et lui, lors d’une tournée nationale visant à lever des fonds pour l’English Opera Group. Ferrier, se souvint-il, chanta sa partie «d’une voix faiblarde, cassée, parfaite réplique au magistral rugissement de Peter. Un chef-d’œuvre d’humour, qui ébranlait l’auditoire, mais sans jamais briser le style du reste du concert.» Après la mort prématurée de Ferrier, la partie de contralto fut confiée à Norma Procter, même si cet arrangement demeura inédit jusqu’en 2001.

extrait des notes rédigées par Mervyn Cooke © 2010
Français: Hypérion

1952 komponierte Britten das Arrangement für ein komisches Duett auf Grundlage eines Appalachen-Volkslieds namens „The Deaf Woman’s Courtship“ für Kathleen Ferrier anlässlich einer britischen Tournee mit Britten und Pears zur Beschaffung von Mitteln für die English Opera Group. Britten erinnerte sich, dass Kathleen Ferrier ihren Part „mit schwächlich-brüchiger Stimme im perfekten Kontrast zu Peters bombastischem Dröhnen sang. Ein Meisterstück an Humor, der das Publikum in Lachkrämpfe versetzte, aber niemals den Stil des übrigen Konzerts beeinträchtigte.“ Nach Kathleen Ferriers frühem Tod wurde ihr Part von Norma Procter übernommen, wenngleich das Arrangement erst 2001 veröffentlicht wurde.

aus dem Begleittext von Mervyn Cooke © 2010
Deutsch: Henning Weber

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