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Track(s) taken from CDA67516

Like a sick eagle

First line:
The spirit is too weak – mortality
author of text
from On Seeing the Elgin Marbles

Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)
Recording details: November 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: September 2005
Total duration: 1 minutes 32 seconds


'Finley is always essentially a singer—his tone and command of the singing line are a pleasure in themselves. But he also has the absolute mastery of the composer's idioms and, with Julius Drake, his fearless and totally committed pianist, the technical, virtuosic skills to realise his intentions with (amid all the quirks) complete conviction of naturalness' (Gramophone)

'I cannot praise Gerald Finley’s performance too highly. It takes a very special artist to bring such unembarrassed fervour to General Booth Enters into Heaven and to encompass all its extraordinary changes of mood. What a contrast with the intimate and poetic setting of his own words in Berceuse and the magical Tom Sails Away. The whole disc is a revelation of beauty and owes much to Julius Drake’s equally perceptive playing of the piano accompaniments' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'… outstanding. Gerald Finley has a voice of great beauty, but it's always under the control of his penetrating intelligence: he risks bending pitches for expressive effect, and he adapts his golden timbre and almost English diction to the childlike tones of The Greatest Man and the cowboy drawl of Charlie Rutlage. Julius Drake is an equally versatile pianist, adept alike in simplicity and complexity … Overall, a disc offering sustained illumination and enjoyment' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This range calls for a voice of great flexibility, which Finley exhibits in singing that at will can be wickedly humorous, touchingly heartfelt or transcendentally awed. Julius Drake is an ever resourceful accompanist, matching Finley's ability to span Ives's breadth from Victorian ballad style to polytonal modernism' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Gerald Finley and his accompanist Julius Drake are fully able to convey the expressive range of these songs … Finley brings an refreshing refinement to many of these songs, and always cleans his boots thoroughly after tramping around in the great Ivesian outdoors' (International Record Review)

'Listening to this disc is like walking into the perfect bookshop; with reams and reams of unusual volumes to leaf through at leisure, and no one to disturb you … Finley's singing is communicative, assured and colourful, Drake's playing neat and proper. Absolutely brilliant' (The Independent on Sunday)

'Gerald Finley's magnificent, burnished baritone is the ideal instrument for the generous selection presented here … The Canadian baritone's superb diction in three languages is an especial pleasure. A triumph' (The Sunday Times)

'Gerald Finley and Julius Drake flourish in Ives's complex, often contradictory, never dull musical world. Listen to Swimmers and the extraordinary General William Booth, and I swear you'll be hooked' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Gerald Finley, Julius Drake, and Hyperion here give us the best-ever male-voice selection from one of the most astonishing volumes in vocal history … We ordinary citizens have the right to hear the whole Ives songbook, from these artists. So don't stop now, Hyperion' (Fanfare, USA)

'the perfect match of singer to song' (Financial Times)

'Brilliantly sung by Canadian baritone Gerald Finley, it has become the gold standard by which all future recordings of these pieces will be measured. Finley meets the daunting vocal and dramatic challenges with total commitment and superb musicianship' (The Scene Musicale, Canada)

'Ives, an insurance man for whom composing was an avocation, deserves wider recognition as one of the art-song greats. It's flawless, arresting performances like Finley's — and his supremely elegant accompanist, pianist Julius Drake — that will help make this happen' (Toronto Star, Canada)

'As the program unfolds, there's always what you're not expecting next—moments of piety or exultation, sarcasm or simple grief. When you're done, you've heard one of the most stimulating and provocative of song recitals, as well as one of the most varied and difficult' (Opera News)

'Gerald Finley's ebony-rich voice and lively imagination gets a workout in this wide-ranging program … Finley is superb throughout, with alert support from Julius Drake' (Time Out)

'Baritone Gerald Finley combines a glorious sound with great dramatic instinct. At the climax of General William Booth Enters Heaven, you feel he's holding nothing back. But his voice has an exquisite lightness too, and the moments of lyrical ecstasy are beautifully handled. With some great accompanying from Julius Drake, it's a disc crammed with colour and variety' (Metro)
The words of Like a sick eagle (1920) are the first five lines of John Keats’s sonnet On Seeing the Elgin Marbles. This is an arrangement of an ensemble ‘song without words’ sketched about 1906, though Ives seems to have associated the music with the time when his wife Harmony was hospitalized for termination of pregnancy in April 1909. The ‘weak and dragging’ descending figures, in accompaniment and voice, close on an ambiguous upward glance.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2005

Like a Sick Eagle (1920) [«Comme un aigle malade»], qui emprunte son texte aux cinq premiers vers du sonnet de John Keats, On Seeing the Elgin Marbles [«En voyant les marbres d’Elgin»], est l’arrangement d’une «romance sans paroles» ébauchée vers 1905, même si Ives semble avoir associé cette musique à l’hospitalisation de sa femme Harmony, pour une interruption de grossesse, en avril 1909. Les figures descendantes, «faibles et traînantes», à l’accompagnement et à la voix, terminent par un regard ambigu, tourné vers le haut.

extrait des notes rédigées par Calum MacDonald © 2005
Français: Hypérion

Die Worte zu Like a sick eagle (1920) [„Wie ein kranker Adler“] entsprechen den ersten fünf Zeilen aus John Keats’ Sonett On Seeing the Elgin Marbles [„Beim Betrachten der Elgin Marbles“ – der von Lord Elgin aus Athen nach London gebrachten antiken Marmorskulpturen]. Das hier vorgestellte Lied ist eine Bearbeitung eines instrumentalen „Liedes ohne Worte“, das ca. 1906 skizziert wurde. Ives scheint die Musik allerdings mit jener Zeit im April 1909 assoziiert zu haben, als seine Frau Harmony wegen einer Interruption im Krankenhaus lag. Die „schwachen und nachhinkenden“ musikalischen Gesten sowohl in der Begleitung als auch in der Gesangsstimme schließen sich einer zweideutig aufwärts gerichteten Bewegung an.

aus dem Begleittext von Calum MacDonald © 2005
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

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