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Track(s) taken from CDA67457

The Pleasures of Spring Gardens, Vauxhall

First line:
Flora, goddess sweetly blooming
author of text

Catherine Bott (soprano), David Owen Norris (piano)
Recording details: May 2003
Savage Club, 1 Whitehall Place, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Simon Weir
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: March 2004
Total duration: 3 minutes 38 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Philip Langridge (tenor), David Owen Norris (piano), Jennifer Langridge (cello)
Greg Tassell (tenor), London Early Opera, Bridget Cunningham (conductor)


'Bott can transform herself from robust campanologist in Walton's Rhyme to high camp in Kit and the Widow's irresistible Wimbledon Idyll; from folk singer for Ewan MacColl's Sweet Thames to waif-like Victorian music-hall songstress in While London's fast asleep … the gently circumspect soft-focus of this recital will doubtless be, for many listeners, all part of that illusory charm of London Town' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Listen to what Bott and Norris make of the Gershwin standard A Foggy Day and you'll believe that the age of miracles hasn't passed!' (International Record Review)

'Best of all is the Joyce Grenfell number, Joyful Noise, putting her own delicious slant on a number one would have thought no one but Joyce Grenfell could bring off' (The Guardian)

'Catherine Bott, dextrous in Baroque and earlier repertory, weilds a light, winning touch as she ranges with pianist Davis Owen Norris through British music-hall songs, Gershwin, Joyce Grenfell ditties and recent Jonathan Dove' (The Times)

'Sumptuous performances all.' (The Sunday Times)

'Catherine Bott, totally unexpected in lighter twentieth century repertoire, divulges new facets of her talents … Noel Coward's London Pride closes the album on a subdued but heroic note, leaving us in admiration of singer and pianist in one of this year's most enjoyable discs to have come my way' (Fanfare, USA)

'Catherine Bott's versatile, light soprano is wonderfully entertaining in this wide-ranging London related album' (The Evening Standard)

'I cannot recommend this disc highly enough. It positively radiates intelligence and wit in performances of consummate musicianship. A truly delightful gallimaufry!' (MusicWeb International)
The song Spring Gardens (Rural Beauty or Vaux-Hal Garden) is written by Dr William Boyce (baptized 1711-1779), a British organist and composer of trio sonatas, concerti grossi, odes and operas as well as songs for the gardens.

The text by John Lockman is every bit as diverting as the music itself. His lyrics for Vauxhall songs, set to music by Boyce and Handel, could never be considered great poetry, but were apparently enjoyed by the Vauxhall audiences. Lockman’s songs about Vauxhall and its charms regularly included some reference to the well-loved Prince Frederick Louis and more usually, to his wife Princess Augusta as wherever they went, the public were bound to follow. In Spring Gardens, Princess Augusta is referred to as ‘the Lady of the May’ and ‘ye Queen of May’.

This song appears under various titles and is contained in several sources including George Bickham’s Musical Entertainer (1737-1739). Many Vauxhall songs were in circulation before they were performed at the gardens and were reprinted in subsequent collections or song sheets.

from notes by Bridget Cunningham © 2017

Other albums featuring this work

Handel: Handel at Vauxhall, Vol. 2
Studio Master: SIGCD479Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Songs from the Pleasure Garden
SIGCD101Download only
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