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Track(s) taken from CDA67227

Armida's garden

First line:
I have been there before, O my love!
March 1908
author of text

Lynne Dawson (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Recording details: August 2000
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: May 2001
Total duration: 2 minutes 7 seconds


'A top British soprano shines in a recital that should appeal well beyond her shores. The programme is delightful, and so are the performances' (Gramophone)

'The programme is well chosen, with familiar songs alongside some that have been unjustly neglected. Dawson’s performances are wholly intelligent, nicely phrased and display deep musical understanding: her account of Howells’s King David is particularly mesmerizing. She is most fortunate to have Malcolm Martineau as her accompanist: he is one of the finest currently before the public, and they are rewarded with an excellent, beautifully balanced recording … this recital will give much pleasure' (International Record Review)

'Taken with the unusual repertory and Lynne Dawson’s unusually fine singing, this becomes an easily recommended introduction to the world of English song' (American Record Guide)

'The most delectable recital of English song … a generous sequence of brief, tuneful songs that are totally charming, from Armida's Garden by Parry to Ivor Gurney's rapt setting of John Fletcher' (The Guardian)

'A rare and rich recital … the real joy of this recital is to hear Dawson's soprano thrilling to the expressive flexibility of her own language, particularly where the glorification of the voice is fused with linguistic excitement' (The Times)

'What a treat it is to hear [Dawson] singing English so expressively … Nothing is lovelier than her haunting unaccompanied singing of Vaughan Williams' (The Sunday Times)

'The really marvellous thing about the singing is that it captures a bubbly, warm, human individuality – a kind of vocal English rose' (Manchester Evening News)
The first two volumes of Parry’s twelve volumes of English Lyrics were written between 1874 and 1885, but the main body of his song output dates from the mid-1890s with the publication by Novello of volumes three and four. Armida’s Garden, composed at sea in March 1908 (and revised soon after) was published in 1909 as part of volume nine and was the fifth of seven settings of Mary Coleridge (the daughter of Arthur Duke Coleridge, a friend and amateur singer) who had died in 1907. Coleridge, who had been encouraged by Bridges, published her first set of verse, Fancy’s Following, in 1896 from which the poem for this song was taken. At its heart is the burning Victorian issue of eschatology, of the life hereafter, the bliss of an ideal love, and of melancholy in the inevitable parting of lovers. Parry’s setting captures this sense of mystery and enchantment, but most importantly the heavily modified second verse embodies that implicit questioning (note, for example, the gentle yet arresting progressions at the end of the first line) which provokes a mood of passionate yearning at the climax and a quizzical ending for the voice (‘than “Alas”’).

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2001

Other albums featuring this work

A Treasury of English Song
This album is not yet available for downloadHYP30Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
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